Dončić stays on the coast

The match was expected in great style, but it was only confirmed: that the Mavericks are not here to be contenders or, at least for now, match last year’s conference finals. One that the Celtics can do with anyone and fly toward their first ring since 2008, the second since the retirement of Larry Bird. These are the conclusions that can be drawn from the Garden match, one that was solved in a deceptive way (125-112 at the end) and that even timidly threatened to fall to the other side (114-105 in less than 4 minutes). , but that it was a total and absolute walk for Joe Mazzulla’s team that stepped a little deeper into the Texans’ crisis (three losses in the last four games)he grew up in front of the iron-handed dominant East (14-4, the best record in the NBA) and was, in short, net and completely superior to an opponent who must do an exercise in taking the blame and urgently looking for solutions.

Jayson Tatum, a pregame doubt due to some physical issues, was confirmed to jump at the Garden hours before kickoff; with Jaylen Brown there was never any doubt. And since two are more than one, both stars came together and finished off Luka Dončić: 68 points, 17 rebounds and 9 assists together. It was 37+13+5 for Tatum, who shot 11 of 24 from the field, 2 of 7 on 3-pointers and 13 of 15 on free throws; his tired partner scored 31+4+4, with 2 steals, 13 of 18, 2 of 3 and 3 of 4. They were the two giants of a team that had up to six players with double-digit scorers and 13 goals and 9 assists according to the basket of Marcus Smart, who was also in charge of the organization the defense that isolated Dončić from the others, exploited the opponent’s weaknesses in order to improve their own essence, pride, trenches on one side of the track and talent on the other. From mud to revolution.

The Celtics were already winning by 21 (70-49) at halftime, led by Derrick White (he scored 12 of his team’s points there), Tatum (23 at the time) and Brown (13). At that point, they have already handed out 18 assists (finishing with 29) and the Mavs only 5. The show lasted a few more minutes: at the end of the third quarter, with 4 minutes to go, the home team got to 96-69, 27 points, the maximum of the game. An attempt by the Texas Rebellion, with Doncic getting his teammates more involved and Christian Wood showing a very positive version, kept the game alive with 12 minutes left (101-85). 16 below. But, As usually happens in cases like this, what seemed like a miracle turned out to be a mirage.. The Celtics could not lose that game. In other words, the Mavericks could not win that game.

Jason Kidd’s side tried and briefly lifted their bench, but it was unthinkable to achieve the impossible. They defended better than they did all game, holding the Celtics to 24 points; they reached 9 points. But the damage done in most of the disastrous night cannot be repaired for some time, as much as Kidd put down his notebook and introduced Christian Wood to the trackhighly sought after in pick and roll and in internal passes into the zone in the last period, together with Luka Dončić, a variable to which he is forced to yield. Because yes, Wood poses defensive problems that the coach doesn’t like and they even contradict the team’s scheme where everyone defends, and the attack is organized around Dončić. But Wood’s presence relieves the Slovenian of the burden in the tight ends, gives the team opportunities when its star is tired and an offensive reinforcement that has been absent from the Mavs since the departure of Jalen Brunson. The wing forward, who went scoreless in the first half, finished only second with 26 points. And a total of 12 rebounds, 10 of 14 from the field…And 5 defeats, yes. But a demonstration that yours will have to jump over preconceived notions and change things.

There will be resilience from the Mavs and that is where the team in general and Kidd’s management in particular will be appreciated. The loss to the Celtics in the Garden (Doncic surrendered to Tatum after the game) is logical and the Mavs are fighting against other teams, but it is obvious that the system, so dependent on Dončić and anyway without an oxygen valve like Brunson represented, does not work and that something more is needed for the competition. By the way, the Slovenian had another fantastic performance: 42 points (17 of 28 shots), 8 rebounds and 9 assists. But 5 losses and -5 with him on the road. There is a lot left and the Mavs (9-8, tenth in the West with the Warriors already breathing down their necks) have room for improvement. But the template is as it is, not subject to too many changes and the need to start adding, along with their own obligation to convince themselves that they can according to which waythey are getting older. Dončić’s Mavs are on trial. And that is an important test.

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