Mavericks-Celtics Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 11, 2012
Maybe Jason Terry's play last season for the Dallas Mavericks against the Boston Celtics is a big reason why he's wearing green and white now. Terry will face the Mavericks for the first time since joining the Celtics in Wednesday night's matchup in Boston. Dallas (11-10) has won four straight over Boston (11-9), with Dirk Nowitzki leading the way with 24.0 points per game. Nowitzki is nearing a return, but remains out after right knee surgery. Terry averaged 17.0 points in last season's two wins over Boston, and the free agent joined the Celtics on a three-year deal after eight seasons with Dallas - his second team after beginning his career with Atlanta. He is sixth on the Mavericks' all-time list with 9,953 points, seventh with 2,524 assists and second behind Nowitzki with 1,140 3-pointers. It hasn't been a smooth transition with his new club - the sharpshooter is averaging 11.5 points for his lowest mark since his rookie season. Dallas is seeking a season-high fourth straight win in the opener of a three-game trip. O.J. Mayo led six Mavericks in double figures with 19 points in Monday's 119-96 rout of Sacramento. "We're playing good basketball right now,'' said Mayo, averaging 27.3 points and shooting 57.7 percent during this win streak. "But now we've got to take it on the road with us and continue playing hard. We need to continue playing with effort and energy." Although the Mavericks posted their second-highest point total of the season, coach Rick Carlisle credited a defensive effort that limited the Kings to 44.0 percent shooting. "We were in position and we were scrambling," Carlisle said. "So that made a lot of good things happen for us offensively." Defense was a major reason why Boston posted its third straight home win, 92-79 over Philadelphia on Saturday. The Celtics limited the 76ers to 39.2 percent from the field. "Our defense is why we won," coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought the first half, going zone, man and back and forth is good for us. And again when you play defense like that, you usually win games." Boston bounced back from a 95-94 loss at Philadelphia the night before. Kevin Garnett scored 19 points and Rajon Rondo had 11 assists. "After last night's performance, everybody came here with a chip on their shoulders," Garnett said. "So we need to play with a little edge more." The Celtics have split their last six games, but have limited foes to 40.2 percent shooting in that span after allowing them to shoot 46.3 percent in their first 14 games. "We're being more aggressive on the ball," forward Jeff Green said. "We're not allowing guys to turn the corner. I think we allowed guys to do that a lot the first part of the season. We just need to continue what we're doing." Rondo continues to lead the NBA with 12.8 assists per game. While Boston has struggled to shoot 26.4 percent on 3-pointers in its last three games, Dallas is shooting 37.5 percent from long range during its run, with Mayo making 12 of 18. Mavs forward Shawn Marion has missed the last two games with a strained groin. He is day to day.
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