The 33-36 Mavs are now one game behind ninth-place Utah in the West standings -- and Utah (loser of three straight) rolls into town Sunday. The Lakers' loss puts Dallas 2.5 games out of eighth. Lots of stuff going on in conjuction with Mavs 104, Celtics 94 - and we've on court and in the locker rooms with Video Visits with Dirk, Jet, Carlisle and Brandan Wright!
Mavs 104, Celtics 94 ...
The Dallas Mavericks planned to allow for some level of "Jet Returns To The Runway'' celebration. But Friday's 104-94 win over Jason Terry's Celtics turned out to be yet another coming-out party for Brandan Wright.
The Mavs' springy big man scored 23 explosive points to ruin the homecoming of Celtics guard Jason Terry, who spent eight years in Dallas -- building up a reputation as a beloved champion -- before being allowed to bolt for Boston last summer via free agency.
"It was a good feeling (to return), but again I was solely locked in on the game,'' said Jet, who scored just eight points. "It was good to see everyone, but again, I'm a Celtic now."
Eminence Front ...
The pregame intros ... complete with an excitable Anthony Morrow:
The NBA highlight reel ...
Dirk on Wright ...
Wright's 23 points marks a season high (and is two shy of his career high). He shot 11-of-16 and tied his season high with eight rebounds.
Dirk Nowitzki obviously appreciates the help.
B-Wright and Dirk together ...
He is playing some 4 and some 5 and seems increasingly comfortable with both. But B-Wright believes he complements Nowitzki on offense -- especially when Dirk is being crowded:
It also helped Nowitzki (22 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes) to be allowed to actually shoot the ball. He had 11 field-goal attempts and ... for the game.
"Thanks to the Mavs organization for giving me the opportunity to play in the NBA. (I) never will forget that.'' -- Chris Wright, who is not being given a second 10-day contract to remain with the Mavs.
"It was great. Great to see him. I knew he was going to get a big ovation. What he meant to this city and meant to our team winning the championship, I mean, he's a vital piece. And like I mentioned it the last couple of days, he was great off the floor as well. He was a community guy, always doing something, bowling with kids every other day, and he's great. So I was happy to see him back and I wish obviously them good look into the playoffs." - Dirk on Jet.
Rick on Wright and Trix ...
"There's a lot of small guys out there, that's why he started," Carlisle said of Wright. "That's when he plays well, when there's not a lot of bruisers."
Next question up: Can he, should he, continue to start -- or at least play a key role in the rotation -- even against more "bruising'' teams?
Regarding Marion: He played 31 minutes after having missed the last eight games with the calf problem. Trix scored 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting, had three assists and was the leading rebounder with 13. Oh, and he put a lid on Paul Pierce (26 points), too.
''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.''
Rick noted that Dallas has missed Marion's athleticism and activity, saying that his contributions cannot be duplicated by any other player on the roster.
Heck, we'd go so far as to say Marion's unique skill set would make him difficult to duplicate using players from a lot of other rosters, too.
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Jet's in no mood ...
Jason Terry spoke politely to the media after the game. But the cramped visitors' quarters ... the subpar production ... and the loss ... put him in a somber mood as he left the AAC.
''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.''
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Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 16 points each. ... For just the second time all season, the Mavs never trailed in a game. (The Jan. 14 home win vs. Minnesota was the other.) ... Elton Brand received a DNP-CD. Hmm. ... The 33-36 Mavs are now one game behind ninth-place Utah in the West standings -- and Utah (loser of three straight) rolls into town Sunday. The Lakers' loss puts Dallas 2.5 games out of eighth. ... Thanks to DB.com videographer Willie Martin ...
The Final Word ...
Fans chant "Keep Hope Alive'' as the Mavs do the walk-off thing: