Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown called Thursday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks the “perfect time” to get back on track after back-to-back losses to begin a four-game road trip.
After allowing 123 points and then a season-high 150 in their last two games, the Celtics look to recover against reigning Western Conference Player of the Month Luka Doncic as a four-game road trip continues at Dallas. It will be no easy feat with Dallas on a seven-game winning streak, trailing only Brooklyn’s 12-game run for the longest active streak in the NBA, heading into Wednesday’s play.
The Mavs have been off since a 111-106 victory on Monday at Houston when they overcame an 18-point deficit in the third quarter as Doncic finished with 39 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. The winning streak is the Mavericks’ longest since their 2011 championship season, when current head coach Jason Kidd was the team’s point guard.
“I’ve been part of both, that’s kind of cool,” Kidd said. “The guys in that locker room, again, you could easily say the new year, being on the road, and can’t wait to get back home. But the guys came out in the second half and Luka gets going without the 3-ball tonight. He trusted his team-mates. We showed up in the second half.”
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Dallas has defeated Houston three times during the streak, which dates back to December 21.
“Winning is always great,” Doncic said. “The energy in the locker room is amazing, so to win seven in a row is pretty good, but we want more. I think today we (played poorly), but great teams come back and win games.”
‘Sense of humility’
Doncic is the first NBA player to record at least 225 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists over a five-game stretch. Additionally, Mavs center Christian Wood has averaged 20.9 points and 8.6 rebounds over his last 10 games. He has blocked at least two shots in all but one of those contests. Even without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (illness), Oklahoma City became just the third team to score 150 points against the Celtics in franchise history, as Boston fell 150-117 on Tuesday.
“You have to play with a sense of humility every night knowing that your opponent wants to beat you,” Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla said. “We have to match that, and we didn’t, and we got outplayed in every aspect of the game.”
That mindset is especially true when holding the NBA’s best record, which the Celtics still did on Wednesday despite losing consecutive games for the third time since the start of December. On Tuesday, Brown scored a game-high 29 points and Jayson Tatum had 27, but the Celtics were no match as the Thunder had seven double-figure scorers, hit 20 3-pointers and shot 59.2 percent from the floor.
“(Butts) kicked,” Brown said. “You come out and you take it for granted, that’s what happens.”
The Celtics will attempt to sweep the season series from Dallas, which was the No. 4 team in the West as of Wednesday.
Boston’s 125-112 home win over Dallas on November 23 snapped a four-game skid in the head-to-head series. Including that streak, the Celtics are 8-5 over the last 13 meetings.
“You’ve gotta just know the NBA’s fragile,” Mazzulla said. “And so you’ve just got to constantly work at it, you’ve got to do the same things over and over again. It’s a test of your mindset, a test of your will, and it’s a test of how you’re able to handle success and adversity. So you’re going to have to constantly go through those things.”