Celtics Wrap: Kemba Walker Scores 32 As Boston Holds Off Mavericks 109-103


The Celtics entered Dallas dealing with a series of injuries, but Boston was able to take down the Mavericks 109-103 at American Airlines Center.

Dallas was missing star guard Luka Doncic but managed to stay in this one down the stretch, even after Kristaps Porzingis fouled out late.

Kemba Walker led the scoring for Boston from the jump, posting 32 points on 9-of-18 shooting to go along with 5 rebounds. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum added 26 and 24 points, respectively.

Porzingis led the way for the Mavericks with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

Boston moved to 18-7 with the win, while Dallas moved to 18-9.

Here’s how it all went down:

STARTING FIVE
PG:  Kemba Walker
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Semi Ojeleye
C: Daniel Theis

KEMBA TO THE RESCUE
Both sides got off to slow starts, scoring a combined 18 points in the game’s first five minutes. The Celtics were 1-for-8 over that span to go along with three turnovers.

Walker then took over, scoring 10 consecutive points in 92 seconds to get Boston right back into this one. Through nine minutes, the point guard had scored or assisted on every Celtics point.

Boston went 10 deep in the first, with the likes of Romeo Langford and Javonte Green getting some time amid the Celtics’ slew of injuries.

Walker finished with 16 points in the first, a season-high for any quarter he’s played in through 24 games. His effort helped the Celtics take a 29-29 tie into the second frame.

HANGING AROUND
Enes Kanter struggled defensively early, and Dwight Powell was able to beat him off the dribble on multiple occasions. The Celtics big man picked up three fouls in eight minutes, limiting him the remainder of the way. Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye, other frontcourt options to fill the void left by injuries, picked up two apiece early, which put Stevens in a tough spot.

Seth Curry did a nice job of attacking the paint in the second, pushing his total up to 12 points in just nine early minutes. Boston, on the other hand, wasn’t as sharp on the offensive end, compiling only five points in the quarter’s first six minutes.

Dallas took its first double-digit lead of the game with 3:30 left in the half, as Boston continued to struggle offensively. The Celtics were 0-for-6 from deep at this point in the night, but they still managed to cut into the deficit thanks to some solid defense and an 8-0 run. They’d ultimately trail by five heading into the second half.

Walker was held scoreless in the quarter, but his 16 points were a game-high at the break.

The Mavericks took a 50-55 lead into halftime.

BACK AND FORTH WE GO
Porzingis had his third consecutive 20 and 10 game by the midway point in the third, pacing Dallas’ offense. Dallas targeted the matchup when Kanter was forced to guard the star forward. But despite being plagued by injuries, the Celtics refused to go away. Brown kept Boston in this one with a strong showing on both sides of the floor.

Stevens ran Walker with the bench unit or the second half of the quarter, which helped the Celtics close the quarter on a 16-5 run.

The Celtics led 76-73 after three.

DOWN TO THE WIRE
Brown continued his impressive night in the fourth, extending Boston’s early-quarter lead to five, pushing his point total up to 22. 

The Celtics used a 10-2 run to grab a six-point lead with just over five minutes to go, with Brown Walker and Tatum leading the charge. The trio continued pressuring Dallas, doubling that lead just two minutes later.  But Seth Curry and Co. responded with a flurry of 3-pointers, cutting the lead right back in half.

Walker and the Celtics ultimately hung on down the stretch, however, managing to hold off Rick Carlisle’s bunch.

PLAY OF THE GAME
Sheesh is right.  

UP NEXT
The Celtics head back home and take on the Detroit Pistons on Friday night at TD Garden. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images

Source: NESN

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