Celtics beat Mavericks for tenth straight win, Friday

Tatum had just two points in the first quarter but finished with his 22nd game this season scoring at least 30 points.

BOSTON — Jayson Tatum made five 3-pointers and scored 32 points and the Boston Celtics overcame Luka Doncic’s second straight triple-double to beat the Dallas Mavericks 138-110 on Friday night and extend their season-best winning streak to 10 games.

Jaylen Brown added 25 points and seven rebounds as the Celtics knocked down 21 3s in their second victory of the season over the Mavericks to improve to an NBA-best 47-12. Kristaps Porzingis finished with 24 points as seven Celtics reached double figures.

Tatum had just two points in the first quarter but finished with his 22nd game this season scoring at least 30 points.

“We’ve progressed, understanding every night is going to look different,” Tatum said. “If it calls for me to essentially pass the ball eight possessions in a row because that’s the right read, then you have to trust that that’s what’s going to help us win the game.”

Doncic had his 12th triple-double of the season with 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. He’s just the eighth player to record a 30-point triple-double in Boston, and the first since Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook accomplished the feat on Dec. 23, 2016.

Kyrie Irving added 19 points for Dallas, but shot just 9 of 23 from the field. Irving, who had a tumultuous two-year stint in Boston, was also pelted with a steady stream of boos whenever he touched the ball.

It also didn’t help that the Mavericks couldn’t keep up with Boston’s shooting, going just 9 of 34 from 3-point range.

“We know if we play the game the right way, there’s a lot of options out there,” Brown said. “We’re confident in the game plan and we’re confident in our ability to read the game. And we’ve been doing that pretty much all year.”

Brown said this is the time of year “when we start to take it up a notch.”

That was on display when Dallas got within 81-79 midway through the third quarter and Boston ended the period on a 21-11 run. The Celtics then followed that up by outscoring the Mavericks 36-20 in the fourth.

“You can’t have empty possessions against them. And then you can’t have breakdowns defensively against them,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “They’re going to make you pay for it at the 3-point line, and that’s what they did.”

Mavericks guard Dante Exum, who has been dealing with a knee injury, saw his first action since Jan.26. He scored four points in 15 minutes.

Porzingis scored 10 of the Celtics’ first 15 points and had four of their 10 3s in the opening 24 minutes to help them build as much as a 12-point lead in the opening 24 minutes.

Still, Dallas trailed by just seven at halftime, paced by Doncic’s 23 points.

Tatum didn’t score until he hit two free throws with 18 seconds remaining in the first quarter. But Boston led 38-32 at the end of the opening quarter, connecting on seven 3-pointers.

Mavericks: Visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

Celtics: Host the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

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