Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boston nips the Mavs again

The Mavericks had swallowed their fill of disappointment since Jason Kidd’s resurrection in Big D. A six-pack of it, to be precise, before Thursday night, and it left them thirsty.

They still haven’t tasted anything better than “almost.” The NBA-leading Boston Celtics made it an unlucky seven by finishing strong for an intensely-contested 94-90 victory before 20,582 fans at American Airlines Center.

The Mavs (44-25) still haven’t knocked off a team with a winning record in seven tries under Kidd’s direction. Dallas almost pulled out wins against fellow contenders San Antonio, Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers (twice) only to fall short in the end. New team, same verse.

“We’re close,” Avery Johnson said. “We’re not being rewarded. We’re getting closer. We have to stay positive.”

The Celtics (55-13) own the NBA’s best record and have dominated the Western Conference along the way, including impressive wins at San Antonio and Houston on their current trip before finishing off the rare Texas Triangle sweep in Dallas.

Knocking off a team with that momentum and at full strength – Ray Allen returned to the lineup – would have served as a confidence boost with the regular season down to 13 precious games. The Mavs remain seventh in the playoff race and face only Western Conference foes from here on out, starting with San Antonio’s visit on Sunday.

“I understand the sense of urgency,” Johnson said. “We all know where we are.”

Dirk Nowitzki (22 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks) played with a relentless energy, even with things weren’t going his way. He attacked the basket consistently and battled MVP candidate Kevin Garnett (20 points and 13 boards) at the other end.

“He was making strong moves,” Johnson said of Nowitzki. “Nineteen rebounds, 22 points and two and three guys hanging all over him pretty much the whole game. Dirk is a warrior.”

Read the rest of this game story at mavs.com.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

That's right Avery, you are close...close to being out of the playoffs. Sunday's game is a must win for the Mavs.