Jayson Tatum is questionable heading into the Boston Celtics contest against the Dallas Mavericks, but that won’t stop Boston from approaching the game with a view to victory, and the mindset of getting back in the win column at the first time of asking.
Still, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks are no joke. Inconsistent, but no joke. As such, the Celtics will need to bring their A-game, both offensively and defensively, otherwise, they could be in for a long night. Still, there are always areas to attack, and areas to give extra attention to.
With all that being said, here are my three tickets to triumph.
Get back to driving the ball
The Celtics are at their best when they’re driving the ball into the teeth of the defense, forcing rotations before finding the open man to begin the ball rotation around the perimeter. Against a Mavericks team that ranks 21st in the NBA for defending their rim, Boston should have no problem with applying pressure.
Of course, once that pressure is on, you have to make the right decision — something that the Celtics have thrived at throughout the young season. Boston is averaging 46.2 drives per game, but they might want to give that a little boost for Wednesday’s contest because if you can get the Mavericks collapsing on defense, there’s going to be plenty of shooting opportunities coming your way from the perimeter.
I’d expect Malcolm Brogdon and Jaylen Brown to be tearing into the Mavericks’ defense tonight and hope that Joe Mazzulla will look to feed Brown on stampede cuts toward the rim.
Let Luka be Luka
Whenever you’re facing one of the elite players in the NBA, the narrative quickly becomes ‘how do we stop them’ — I prefer to look at things through a different lens. Let’s face it, guys like Luka Doncic can’t be stopped, and can seldom be contained. So, let Luka be Luka and focus on limiting the players around him.
We know that Luka likes to have the rock and is sometimes a little too happy to pound the air out of the ball. We also know that he can’t score all the necessary points to push the Mavericks to a W. By limiting the players around him, Luka will take on a higher-than-normal usage rate…