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Irving leads short-handed Celtics past Mavericks

  • Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) passes the ball while covered by Boston Celtics forward Al Horford, left, and guard Kyrie Irving during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Celtics’ guard Marcus Smart, left, grabs a rebound over Mavericks guard Devin Harris during the second quarter of Boston’s 97-90 victory Wednesday night at TD Garden in Boston. AP PHOTO

  • Celtics’ forward Al Horford tries to drive past Mavericks’ forward Maximilian Kleber during the C’s 97-90 win Wednesday in Boston. ap PHOTO

  • Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews looks back at referee Pat Fraher, right, as he is called for a personal and technical foul during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving directs a teammate during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle gestures towards an official during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens crafts a play during a timeout in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa



Associated Press
Wednesday, December 06, 2017

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving had 23 points and five assists, and Jayson Tatum added 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the short-handed Boston Celtics slip past the Dallas Mavericks 97-90 on Wednesday night.

Boston’s Al Horford finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Boston has won four straight and six of their last seven.

The Celtics played without Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris. Brown sat with an inflamed right eye, while Morris was out due to left knee soreness.

It forced coach Brad Stevens to rely heavily on his reserves. They came through in the fourth, leading a 10-0 run to put Boston back in front 80-73.

Dallas fought back to tie it up at 85. But the Celtics ran off eight straight points to push their lead to 93-85 with 2 minutes to play.

Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 19 points and seven rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki added 16 points and six rebounds.

Boston’s bench outscored their Dallas counterparts 36-23 for the game.

Dallas had just three turnovers in the opening 24 minutes and led 57-47 at the half.

The Celtics fought through periods of sloppiness offensively, committing seven turnovers in the half. They were also outscored 20-12 in the paint.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Were outrebounded 53-45 and were outscored 34-32 in the paint.

Celtics: Stevens said both Brown and Morris are expected to be with team when it departs for three-game trip on Thursday.

WILD THIRD

The Mavericks took a 59-47 lead earlier in the third quarter. But the Celtics erased the deficit with a 15-2 run. It was part of a fast-moving quarter that saw the lead change hands eight times.

Barnes had 12 points in period for Dallas. Horford paced Boston with 10 points.

NOEL SURGERY

Coach Rick Carlisle announced before the game that forward Nerlens Noel will have surgery later this week in Cleveland on his injured left thumb.

“He has some kind of a torn ligament, which is effecting his ability to catch the ball,” Carlisle said. “He’ll be out for several weeks. I don’t know for how long.”

Noel has appeared in 18 games this season, but hasn’t played since Nov. 22.