Mavericks 104, Celtics 94

Jason Terry’s quiet fourth quarter was just about complete when

Dallas center Brandan Wright waited near the basket for a lob pass

from Shawn Marion.

Wright’s forceful slam on the alley-oop capped his season-high

23-point game, Dirk Nowitzki pitched in 22 and the Mavericks

spoiled Terry’s return to Dallas with a 104-94 victory against the

Boston Celtics on Friday night.

”It’s his kind of game because there are a lot of small guys

out there,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said of Wright. ”That’s

the reason we started him. He navigates well in an athletic game

without a lot of bruisers in it.”

Terry scored eight in his first game in Dallas since leaving for

Boston in free agency. He was the latest key piece the Mavericks

decided not to keep since beating Miami in the 2011 NBA finals.

Terry was known for 3-point shooting and clutch fourth quarters

with the Mavericks, but he missed both 3-pointers for the game and

was just 1 of 3 shooting without a try from long range in the final

quarter.

He got a rousing ovation when he entered the game late in the

first quarter, but it was brief because the game wasn’t stopped.

Vince Carter almost immediately hit a 3-pointer to force the fans

to cheer for the Mavericks again.

”It was nothing out of the ordinary. It was a good feeling,”

Terry said. ”But again, I was solely locked in on the game. It was

good to see everyone. But I’m a Celtic now.”

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass led Boston with 16

points apiece. Garnett added 12 rebounds, and Bass grabbed 11.

The Mavericks kept their lead near the halftime margin of 11

until early in the fourth quarter, when Jordan Crawford hit a tough

3-pointer from the corner, then picked up a steal from Mike James

near midcourt and made a reverse layup with Nowitzki in pursuit to

pull Boston within six.

The Celtics had a chance to get within six again when Wright

stripped Jeff Green on a drive, leading to a short jumper from

Darren Collison for an 87-77 Dallas lead with 7:44 remaining.

”He was coming full speed and I knew that he wanted to get to

the rim,” Wright said. ”He’s one of the best attackers in the

league. He exposed the ball and I just grabbed it and threw it back

in. That was a big turnaround for us.”

The Celtics were within five in the final 2 minutes when Wright

rebounded a miss from Carter, and O.J. Mayo had all the time he

needed to measure up a 3-pointer for a 100-92 lead while a Courtney

Lee sat near him holding his sprained left ankle. Lee said after

the game the injury wasn’t serious.

One of Terry’s misses in the fourth was a pull-up jumper that

could have made it a six-point game.

”He didn’t play great tonight,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said.

”He played with a lot of spirit. I love him, still. I wish we

could have won the game for him tonight. I really do.”

The Celtics were within six earlier in the fourth when Mayo hit

a tough jumper with the shot clock expiring and Wright followed a

miss with a dunk to push the lead to 10 again.

”Defensively right now, we’re not getting it done,” Terry

said. ”Give them credit, they spread us out. They used (Wright) to

roll to the basket tonight and he played well.”

Marion, back after missing eight games with a left calf strain,

had 11 points and 13 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the

season.

Dallas went 5-3 without him but missed his defense, particularly

in giving up 113 points in each of the last two games he was out.

The Mavericks held the Celtics to 42 percent shooting and limited

Pierce and Kevin Garnett to just 19 shots combined. They had 10

more rebounds than Boston after giving up 22 boards to Reggie Evans

and getting outrebounded by 11 in a loss to Brooklyn.

Marion had a rough start – his first shot was an airball on a

wide-open 3-pointer – but he had seven rebounds in the first

quarter and 10 before halftime.

”It was frustrating sitting on the sideline wishing I could be

back out there,” Marion said. ”My timing is off a little, but

it’s OK.”

The Celtics lost for the fifth time in seven games and slid

closer to the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, which would

mean a likely first-round pairing with Miami. The Celtics have lost

three straight, a skid that started with a loss to Miami when

Boston let a 17-point lead slip away with a chance to end the

Heat’s winning streak at 22.

NOTES: Carlisle said G Rodrigue Beaubois was ”probably” out

for the season after surgery on a broken left hand, but wouldn’t

rule him out entirely. Beaubois was injured in Sunday’s loss to

Oklahoma City. … Mayo is still Dallas’ leading scorer, but he’s

been the top point man just twice in the past 20 games. He’s been

held to single digits three times this month. … Green has 23

points combined in the two games since he scored a career-high 43

in Boston’s loss to Miami. … The Mavericks didn’t trail in a game

for the second time this season. The previous game was Jan. 14, a

113-98 win over Minnesota. … Carlisle said the Mavericks were not

going to sign G Chris Wright to a second 10-day contract.