Kyrie Irving had yet to post a prolific scoring night as a member of the Boston Celtics, but that all changed Monday night at American Airlines Center.
The star point guard scored a season-high 47 points on 16-of-22 shooting to lift the C’s to a 110-102 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks to extend their win streak to 16 games.
Irving got rolling from the get-go against the Mavs, but the Celtics collectively played sluggish basketball in the second and third quarters. Dallas appeared to be on its way to an upset win when it held a double-digit fourth-quarter lead, but Boston clawed back with a resilient late-game effort.
Jaylen Brown (22 points, nine rebounds) and Jayson Tatum (15 points, nine rebounds) nearly posted double-doubles for Boston, while Marcus Smart chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. Harrison Barnes led the way for the Mavs with 31 points.
With the win, the Celtics improve to 16-2, while the Mavericks fall to 3-15.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Al Horford
The Celtics got on the Mavericks early and often thanks in large part to their starting guards. Irving led all scorers with 18 first-quarter points on 6-of-6 shooting, including three buckets from beyond the arc. Brown wasn’t too far behind his backcourt mate, posting 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting with two 3-pointers. Boston shot a collective 65 percent from the field in the first quarter and held a 34-22 lead over Dallas, which posted a 41 percent shooting mark including a lackluster 1-for-5 line from 3-point range.
MAVS MARCH BACK
The C’s, aside from Irving, weren’t nearly as efficient in the second quarter as the first, which allowed the Mavs to chip away and only be down 53-49 at the break. Boston only converted on seven of its 20 shots in the second stanza, three of which came from Irving, who led all scorers with 25 first-half points on 9-of-10 shooting.
Smart had a particularly rough half for the Celtics, contributing only two points on 1-of-7 shooting, including five misses from beyond the arc. He also committed three of Boston’s eight first-half turnovers.
But luckily for the C’s, Dallas’ below-average shooting prevented it from taking back the lead in the second. While Barnes (13 points) and Wesley Matthews (10 points) were strong in the first half, the Mavs shot 43 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point land heading into the second half.
Dallas started to show signs of life at the tail end of the second quarter, and it carried that momentum into the third frame. The Mavs came out firing in the quarter and grabbed a 55-53 lead on a Barnes layup at the 9:24 mark. The Celtics, conversely, were sluggish to start the third and didn’t log their first points of the quarter until a trio of Irving free throws at the 8:46 mark.
Boston’s offense improved as the quarter progressed, but Dallas didn’t let up, as they held an eight-point lead with just under a minute left in the third after a J.J. Barea 3-pointer made it 77-69 Mavs. Barnes paced all scorers with 12 third-quarter points.
CELTS COME BACK
The Mavericks showed no signs of complacency in the fourth quarter and grew their lead to as large as 13. But as they have done all season, the Celtics found a way to come back.
After back-and-forth action in closing minutes of the frame, Tatum evened the score at 96-96 on an alley-oop from an Irving feed. Boston forced a turnover on Dallas’ next possession, but the C’s couldn’t convert on a potential go-ahead basket as an Irving 3-point attempt rimmed out. The Mavs suffered a similar fate on their next possession when Barnes missed a fadeaway with seconds remaining in regulation.
The C’s had one last shot in the fourth, but an out-of-bounds play designed for a Brown tip-in came up short.
Dallas jumped out to a quick 100-96 lead in overtime, but a pair of Irving layups on back-to-back C’s possessions evened the score once again. Boston then grabbed its first lead since the third quarter when Brown nailed a jumper with 1:39 left in the frame.
From there, the C’s didn’t look back. An Irving layup swelled Boston’s lead to four and Tatum tacked on a pair of free throws to boost the advantage to 108-102. The Mavericks didn’t score a point in the final 2:14 of overtime as Boston played stingy defense to preserve the win.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Now that’s how you send a game to OT.
The Celtics’ road trip continues with a Wednesday night matchup against the Heat in Miami. Tip-off from American Airlines Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. ET
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports/ Images