This matchup features two teams that are currently in the playoff picture but are looking to move up in the standings to avoid having to go through the NBA’s Play-In Tournament.
Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks are currently in the seventh spot in the Eastern and Western Conference, respectively.
For the first time this season, the Boston Celtics played with a limited number of spectators on their home floor on Monday. Unfortunately, the energy from the building didn’t match the team’s effort as they fell to the New Orleans Pelicans 115-109. The loss dropped them to below .500 once again this season.
The Dallas Mavericks, on the other hand, welcomed back Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis on Monday in time to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 127-106.
The duo missed the Mavs’ previous game but came back with a vengeance. Doncic scored 25 points and Porzingis had 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics - Prediction
Jaylen Brown has a bruised left hip and could miss his second straight game for the Boston Celtics. His availability is a huge factor in determining the outcome of Wednesday's contest. It will be up to newly-acquired Evan Fournier to pick up the slack in case Brown is out.
The Dallas Mavericks have won half of their last 10 games after going on a four-game winning streak in early March. They’re not playing as poorly as Gang Green but are quite unpredictable. If Porzingis had played since the start of the season, the Mavs would have a better record and Doncic would be an MVP candidate right now.
At this point, the Dallas Mavericks are playing better than the Boston Celtics and will likely win this contest, especially if Brown doesn’t play.
Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics - Combined 5
Point Guard - Luka Doncic l Shooting Guard - Marcus Smart l Small Forward - Evan Fournier l Power Forward - Jayson Tatum l Center - Kristaps Porzingis
In this hypothetical combined 5 for the game between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics, we have a star-studded cast that features two starters and three All-Stars (past and present).
At point guard, very few players are better than Luka Doncic, who is putting together another stellar season with nightly averages of 28.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 9.0 assists.
In his third campaign in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks star has scored more than 40 points four times and 30 or more points 16 times already. He accomplished these with 27 games left on his team’s schedule.
The Dallas Mavericks guard’s backcourt partner in our combined 5 is Marcus Smart. He is one of the best defensive players in any position. The Boston Celtics veteran is known for his hard-nosed, no-nonsense approach to guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player. His 13.0 points, 5.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game averages don’t tell the whole story of how valuable he is.
Evan Fournier has a shot at starting at the small forward position in the event that Brown is sidelined. In 26 games for the Magic, Fournier was a 19.7-points-per-game scorer who could play either at the shooting guard or small forward position effectively. He should be a valuable contributor to the Boston Celtics whether he starts or comes off the bench. Though he had a goose egg in his first appearance in green, expect him to bounce back resoundingly versus the Dallas Mavericks.
The 6-foot-7 swingman is joined at the other forward spot by his Boston Celtics teammate, Jayson Tatum. As the third overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, Tatum has proven time and time again that he should have gone No. 1 in his class. Over his last four matches, he has generated 28.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game for his squad.
Kristaps Porzingis rounds up our combined 5 at center. The 7-foot-3 Latvian has played in only 29 out of a possible 45 games for the Dallas Mavericks due to various injuries and ailments.
When he is on the floor, however, Porzingis is one of the most versatile centers in the game. He had a 36-point performance against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 12, as he shot 8-of-13 from three and 13-of-21 overall.