From the Associated Press:
BOSTON (AP) Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points, Wesley Matthews had 18 and the Dallas Mavericks erased an 18-point, first-half deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 106-102 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Zaza Pachulia had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavericks. Deron Williams added 16 points, including consecutive key baskets.
Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 19 points. Jared Sullinger had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Avery Bradley scored 18 points as the Celtics had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Dallas trailed 89-82 after Thomas’ jumper with just under 8 minutes to play before going on a 14-2 run over the ensuing 5:04.
The Celtics closed to 104-102 and had the ball for a chance to tie or take the lead, but Raymond Felton stole it from Thomas in the closing seconds. Williams then nailed two free throws, making him perfect on 30 attempts this season.
Williams’ 3-pointer from the left corner gave the Mavericks their first lead of the game, 94-91 with 4:18 to play. He followed with a short jumper after Boston turned the ball over with a back-court violation.
Trailing from the game’s opening basket, the Mavericks erased a nine-point halftime deficit, tying it twice in the third quarter, but Boston closed with an 11-4 spree to lead 78-70 after three. Kelly Olynyk and Bradley each had 3-pointers from the left corner during the run.
Coming off impressive double-digit road wins at Oklahoma City and Houston, Boston opened an 18-point edge late in the opening quarter, but had it sliced to 54-45 at halftime because of Dallas’ hot shooting.
The Mavericks shot 64.7 percent (11 of 17) in the second after starting the game ice cold.
Bradley scored 12 straight points in 1 minute, 43 seconds during an 18-3 run that carried Boston to a 31-16 lead after one quarter.
Mavericks: F Charlie Villanueva left the team for the birth of his second child. . Coach Rick Carlisle, president of NBA coaches association and a teammate of fired Houston coach Kevin McHale on the Celtics’ 1986 championship team, was ”extremely surprised” that McHale was let go. ”If you look at their team over the last few years, their roster was constantly in flux,” he said. ”He just did an amazing job putting that thing together.”
Celtics: Coach Brad Stevens said he initially brought G Bradley off the bench to ease his minutes because he was coming off a calf injury, but has decided to stick with it longer due to the team’s success. ”We won and played the next night and felt pretty good about it,” Stevens said.
Mavericks: Host Utah on Friday.
Celtics: Host Brooklyn on Friday.
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