Doc Rivers said after his Celtics' victory Sunday night in Oklahoma City that it was his bench that won him the game. Nate Robinson, Glen Davis and Semih Erden sparked a resilient second unit that overcame a scary Thunder comeback and sealed the deal on Boston's fifth straight win.
But on the second night of a road back-to-back, the Celtics will need to have their starters back. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks are looming as the C's look to improve to 7-1.
When and Where
Celtics at Mavericks
Monday, Nov. 8, 8:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Head to Head
The Celtics split two contests with the Mavericks last season, losing by nine points at home and winning by nine on the road. Their most recent meeting was a 102-93 win in Dallas on March 20, in which Paul Pierce paced the C's with 29 points and Rajon Rondo added a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Kevin Garnett vs. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk turned 32 this summer, but he still hasn't lost a step. He can still beat you inside and out, he can still crash the boards, and he can still make everyone around him better. KG loves to rise to the occasion for big matchups, and Dirk is still one of them. He's a great all-around player who can torch the Celtics if they're not ready. KG will have to chase Dirk all over the floor for 48 minutes, making him work for everything.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Jermaine O'Neal
Point guard: Jason Kidd
Shooting guard: Caron Butler
Small forward: Jason Terry
Power forward: Dirk Nowitzki
Center: Tyson Chandler
- Rajon Rondo leads the NBA with 14.7 assists per game.
- Ray Allen led the Celtics with 19 points in their win Sunday night over Oklahoma City. He has scored in double figures in all seven games this season.
- Paul Pierce has averaged 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game against the Mavericks in his career.
- Jason Kidd has 10.8 assists per game, second only to Rondo.
- Dirk Nowitzki ranks fourth in the NBA with 25.8 points per game.
- Shawn Marion has come off the bench in all five games this season for the Mavericks. Marion started 805 of the first 820 games of his career.
Black and Blue
- Shaquille O'Neal is day to day with a bruised right knee. He may return against the Mavericks.
- Avery Bradley is still inactive as he recovers from ankle surgery.
- Kendrick Perkins has a torn ACL and hopes to return in January.
- Roddy Beaubois underwent foot surgery last month and is out indefinitely.
This is a great matchup — it's two deep, talented, veteran-laden teams that should be in the hunt for a championship all season long. Two great offenses led by two great point guards, with two great supporting casts around them, but only one can win. There are a lot of things going against the Celtics — they're on the road, they're playing a back-to-back, and they're coming off a taxing game against a young, athletic Thunder team that surely drained a lot out of them. The Celtics will need to dig deep and find the energy for this one. It won't be easy.