GAME RECAP: Mavericks 91, Celtics 74
Mavs win 91-74 behind 20 from Yogi and 18 from Nico!
LAS VEGAS — Storming through the opposition through their first four games of the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League, the Dallas Mavericks tried to remain unbeaten en route to a spot in the tournament’s semifinals with another victory Saturday night.
Capturing their first three outings of preliminary play and holding on late for an 83-76 victory Thursday over Sacramento, the No. 3-seeded Mavericks looked to continue their winning ways Saturday against the Boston Celtics. The Mavs also tried to take advantage of a shorthanded Celtics squad, which opted to sit No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum and second-year standout Jaylen Brown. And despite a lackluster offensive game from first-round draft pick Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks (5-0) remained unbeaten with a 91-74 victory.
“We came out slow with a slow start. That’s how we were last game, and then we got on a good run by playing defensively. You know, we wanted to play against those guys, obviously. You want to play against the best competition to see how you do against them. But they sat out, and we knew Boston was still a good team because of the structure and the organization. They were going to be the same all the way around, so we still had to go out with the same firepower,” second-year standout Yogi Ferrell said after the win.
Sticking with a starting five of Smith, Ferrell, Argentine swingman Nicolas Brussino, versatile forward Dorian Finney-Smith and undersized center Brandon Ashley, the Mavericks attempted to build an early advantage on the depleted Celtics (4-1). Brussino then got the Mavs off to a fast start, swishing a corner three-pointer to open up the scoring.
Smith’s and-one jumper took matters from there as the Mavericks tried to separate themselves in the opening quarter. But after the Celtics built a slight edge, Ferrell’s timely three tied the score at 12-all midway through the period. Another triple by Ferrell would follow later in the quarter as the Mavs surged ahead by five. And after a three from summer-league standout Ding Yanyuhang off the bench, the Mavericks took a 20-15 lead into the second stanza.
Getting a lift from reserve guard Corey Webster early in the second quarter, the Mavs continued to hold a slight lead on the scoreboard. Yanyuhang also continued to provide a spark, keeping the Celtics at a safe distance. And after Ferrell’s back-to-back drives to the hoop to move into double figures, the Mavericks held a 39-29 advantage in their hands with 2:59 left in the half.
The lead jumped to 16 from there as the Mavs kept their foot on the gas. Ferrell’s 14 first-half points then took the Mavericks into the intermission with a 46-32 lead under their belt.
Led by Ferrell’s 5-of-9 shooting, the Mavericks outshot the Celtics through two quarters, 52.9 percent to 37.1 percent. The Mavs also held a 19-14 rebounding edge, forcing 10 Boston turnovers to boot.
“I had a good comeback game,” Ferrell said after a 0-for-10 outing during Thursday’s win. “I just wanted to come out and be aggressive. You know, what happened happened the game before. It is what it is, and you can’t think about it. It’s always on to the next one, so that was my mentality going into tonight.”
Starting the second half with back-to-back breakaway scores by Brussino and Ashley after forcing consecutive turnovers, the Mavericks upped their defensive intensity in the early minutes of the third quarter. Ferrell also stayed on the attack at the offensive end of the floor, swishing back-to-back threes as the Mavs opened up the third with a 10-0 run.
Back-to-back-to-back triples from Brussino and Finney-Smith continued the onslaught a short time later as the Mavericks led by as many as 28 in the period. Mavs summer-league head coach Jamahl Mosley then finished out the quarter with his reserves as the Dallas team took a 76-56 lead into the fourth.
Opening the final period with his fourth three-pointer of the night, Brussino continued to stroke the hot hand. Triples followed by Steven Spieth and Finney-Smith in the quarter as the lead continued to balloon. And with the game well in hand, Mosley sat his top contributors midway through the quarter while finishing off the win with the Dallas reserves.
Scoring 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 4 of 8 from three-point range, Ferrell bounced back from a disappointing personal performance in Thursday’s win. Brussino added 18 points of his own, knocking down 4 of 6 from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Yanyuhang finished with 11 points off the bench. Webster and Finney-Smith made it five Mavs in double figures by pitching in 10 points apiece, making up for Smith’s three points on just 1-of-6 shooting.
“I mean, everybody is going to have off nights. That’s how it is in the NBA,” Ferrell said of Smith’s struggles. “You’re not going to be on every single night, so I just thought we did a great job just picking him up. You know, we told him, ‘Don’t worry about it. There’s always the next game. Tonight wasn’t your night.’ But guys like Doe-Doe, Nico, and even bench players like Steven and Corey were coming in the game and stepping up for us. It was a great all-around game for our team.”
Rosco Allen led three Celtics in double figures with 12 points on 5 of 7 from the field. But the Mavericks outshot the Celtics for the game, 50 percent to 41.8 percent, adding a 36-28 rebounding edge and forcing 19 Boston turnovers.
“Certain guys for them were out, so I think we thought it was going to be an easy game,” Mosley concluded. “At the end of the day, for us it was more about how our intensity turned up versus who was on the floor. I think it was very big for us to come out with the intensity of four straight turnovers in the second half. It was huge.”
The Mavericks will now take on the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer-league semifinals Sunday at 7 p.m. CT.