1. The beginning of a new series or not, we do not know yet. But it was a good win for the Boston Celtics. They left the bastard in Chicago behind and dealt with a Dallas Mavericks team that they’ve had a hard time with in recent years with relative ease.
Dallas made a couple of runs in the second half, but Boston fought back each time. After the first quarter, the Celtics were never seriously threatened in that game.
Boston was supposed to surpass superstar Luka Doncic’s performance, but that seemed to be some sort of game plan. Let Doncic get his way, but block the rest of his teammates. Dallas found something suitable late, getting Doncic and Christian Wood to work together in pick and roll. But a lot of that happened when the Celtics were playing in the NBA, which was the equivalent of “prevent the defense.”
The Celtics also had their stellar performances. Jason Tatum has become another MVP and Jaylen Brown has shown that he goes beyond the All-Star level to the All-NBA level. It was a good night in front of a noisy home crowd on Thanksgiving Eve. All in all, a great start to Boston’s long six-game home stand.
2. We talked about this above, but it was a multi-stage MVP night for Jason Tatum. He dominated the scoring game, but Tatum also played as a passer, rebounder and defenseman. Let’s start with scoring.
Tatum discovered a lot by queuing early and often. He finished 13 out of 15 from the charity streak. Tatum’s first field goal was a Dallas Smitty shot before a strong rim finish:
Later in the first half, Tatum showed how good he was at seeing the entire floor. He draws Luka Doncic, and every time that happened, Dallas sent a double. Instead of waiting for the double team to come up, Tatum braced himself and fired before she could get there:
When you’re hot, no shot is a bad look:
And again, Tatum draws Doncic. This time he attacks opposite the place where the doppelgänger comes from. When the Mavs are in rotation, the lane is wide open for a loud finish:
3. The departure of Jason Tatum has gone up several levels this year as well. This drive and kick pass is harder than it looks. Finding Derrick White on the flank opposite the baseline is a big hit:
Above, you saw Tatum attacking double teams to score himself. Here, Tatum is patient and lets things open up before finding Marcus Smart for the open three:
It’s a good cut and a great pass from Smart. From there, Tatum sees that he has asked for help and finds Al Horford open in the corner:
4. Playing forward is great, but Jason Tatum rises to the top of the MVP conversation because of his active defensive play. When Rob Williams pulled out of the lineup, Tatum helped replace part of Williams’ rim guard.
At the end of the first half, Tatum turns around to deflect a shot from Dorian Finney-Smith under the basket:
Then, to close out the game, Tatum took on the MVP candidate’s defensive challenge by protecting Luka Doncic. In this game, Tatum’s advantage is:
5. Jaylen Brown has moved beyond the All-Star level this season. Brown plays at the All-NBA level to open the season. Much of this is due to him expanding his game beyond scoring.
Brown’s patience as a passer showed up a couple of times against Dallas. This is excellent material from Brown. He leaves the screen, but let the play develop. He even steps back and does a couple of extra dribbles to get Sam Houser to hit the screen for Malcolm Brogdon:
It was a high level pass from Brown. He skips a double command, then waits for traffic to clear before racing towards Al Horford in the corner:
And, of course, Brown achieved this as a scorer as well. When threatened by Dallas, Brown immediately took up his one-dribbling pull-up spot, which makes money for him:
In the next run, Brown saw that Luka Doncic was more concerned with the call argument than with defensive play. Brown hit Doncic with a crossover and then drew and-1:
6. Boston’s balance compared to Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown makes them special. Six Celtics hit double figures. Considering the way Boston throws and distributes the ball, it’s no wonder they’re at record speed in terms of offensive rating. Tatum and Brown are in the lead, but they get a lot of help too.
7. One of those who helps is Marcus Smart. He leads the offense at a higher level than ever. Smart had nine more assists in that win, including some beautiful ones.
Good things happen when Smart is out of the office. He has enough vision and patience to let Jaylen Brown’s montage draw Dwight Powell into the paint to reveal Al Horford:
This is a great transition from Smart and Brown. Great backdoor and timely penny:
This touchdown pass from Smart to Jason Tatum is the perfect basketball:
8. Malcolm Brogdon is Boston’s powerful weapon off the bench. At the end of the game, with the Mavericks hanging around, Brogdon took control for a while.
When he hits big draws, Brogdon likes to attack to get to his pull up or get all the way to the rim. And his ability to finish with his left hand is underestimated:
Again, Dallas was hanging around at this point. Brogdon did a good job getting off the float on i-1:
Once again, Brogdon gets Christian Wood after a fight. No problem, he’s ready for another left-handed throw:
9. Grant Williams had a pretty quiet game, judging by the statistics. But he made an impact as a playmaker. It was a good hit on the BLOB game and Williams sees Davis Bertans turn to help before he even gets the ball. In one motion, catch and pass to Sam Houser for three:
Since Williams has done a great job, he can hit Luka Doncic from the rebound like the Celtics defenders and flankers. The result is a big hoop to keep the Mavs at bay:
10. The Celtics started by winning six games at home. Now they’re welcoming the red-hot Sacramento Kings to Boston on Friday. This is a later start than usual at 8:00 pm ET on the holiday weekend. The Kings snapped their seven-game winning streak in Atlanta, so they’ll be looking to get back up.
The Celtics and Kings were also the top two offensive teams in the NBA this season. And these two teams have played some crazy games in recent years. This should be fun on Black Friday.
Bonus: This Thanksgiving, your author would like to take a moment to personally thank you all. Your support and reading of Conclusions is never taken for granted. I try to read most of the comments and occasionally interact with them after each post is promoted. I appreciate the insight you offer and that you regularly point out what I am missing.
Plus, kind comments mean more than you might think. We hope you all have a fun day filled with family/friends, food and football. If Thanksgiving is not for you, then have a great day and know that you are still appreciated. Go Celtics!