Mavericks bully Boston in statement road win

It was shaping up to be just another typical night in Boston. You had the ugly, defensive game. There was an opponent that jumped out early but couldn’t shake the hosts because of their never-wavering grit. And of course, you had the obligatory “Kevin Garnett being a bully” thing going. But somehow, the Dallas
Mavericks found a way to beat the Celtics at their own game … Garnett (16 points) started off the night 6-for-6 from the field, hitting fadeaways, hook shots and even reversing home a layup. He looked like his old self. But in the first quarter, the Mavs put up 34 points on 67 percent shooting to go up by six. Just another reason why people should relax with the questions about the Lakers. It’s a long season. Two of the best defensive teams in the NBA matched up in Boston last night, and what do we get? An offensive explosion … In the second half, the teams reverted to form, with Boston hitting the Mavs with their patented third-quarter run keyed by a couple of threes from Ray Allen (24 points). Even as the Celtics clamped down in the final few minutes, Dallas made just enough big shots to stay within range. On Dallas’ final possession of the fourth quarter, Jason Kidd knocked down a three with 2.5 seconds remaining. The Celtics threw the ball away on their inbound pass, and then Dirk Nowitzki (29 points) made two free throws to give the Mavs their first statement win in about a month … The best time of the NBA season is always immediately following the All-Star game, just because we all don’t have to hear announcers crowning every player imaginable an All-Star. We swear Mike Breen could ask Mark Jackson whether Kwame Brown should be in the game, and then conjure up some way to justify it. Last night the announcers went on a rant about Tyson Chandler (14 points, 15 rebounds) having an All-Star season. Chandler has been very good — great at some specific points — but All-Star caliber? If Jackson thinks Chandler should get in above Blake Griffin just because Griffin is on a losing team, we might as well come up with something else for that weekend … During the Dallas/Boston broadcast, they showed a clip of Kurt Rambis giving Kevin Love the news that he’d been added to the All-Star roster as Yao‘s replacement. Yeah, the same Rambis who toyed with Love’s playing time last season and treated him like a role player. That was unintentionally funny. When Rambis hugged his big man, you could tell Kevin wasn’t feeling the love … Hopefully Charles Oakley and Rick Mahorn and the rest of the Kappa Phi BustYoAss fraternity didn’t watch the end of Clippers/Hawks. Game on the line, L.A. up by one, Al Horford (23 points, 12 rebounds) goes hard to the rim and Blake Griffin (19 points, 11 rebounds) meets him there, knocking Al on his back. So in attempting to play hard and protect the win in the final seconds, Griffin gets called for a flagrant foul. That’s so backwards. It’s a flagrant foul because he followed through? Because Horford hit the ground hard? It’s called momentum, people. Give Horford credit, though, for peeling himself off the floor and making the free throws to give Atlanta the lead. But because of the flagrant call, the Hawks got the ball back after Horford’s free throws, and simply had to have somebody touch the inbound pass before the clock ran out … Before the crazy finish, this was a highlight-fest. Griffin wasn’t even the best dunker on the court this time, as DeAndre Jordan jumped like he was trying to put his chin inside the basket multiple times. Jamal Crawford (34 points) had his share of playground buckets, and Josh Smith made a spectacular tip-in late in the fourth quarter … Who could have guessed it? After being a beast all night long, Vince Carter (33 points) missed three consecutive shots down the stretch for Phoenix as the Thunder eked out a come-from-behind win thanks to big buckets from Serge Ibaka (18 points) and Russell Westbrook (19 points, 11 assists) … Funny graphic from the Suns broadcast: Jared Dudley‘s Non-Athletic All-Star Lineup. The team consisted of Earl Boykins, J-Dud, Kevin Love, Brian Cardinal and Kendrick Perkins. Coached by Alvin Gentry … Other headlines from around the League: Dwyane Wade posted a triple-double (22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) in Miami’s win in Charlotte; Shawne Williams bypassed an open three (that would have won it) and missed a layup/runner at the buzzer (that would have tied it) as New York lost to the Sixers; Andrea Bargnani scored 30 points to lead the Raptors past Minnesota; Danny Granger had 25 points and 9 rebounds as Indiana upset Portland; Dwight Howard put in work (22 points, 15 rebounds) in Orlando’s runaway smash of the Wizards; rookie Greg Monroe put up 20 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Pistons in their win over the Nets; Zach Randolph had 29 points and 13 boards for Memphis to hand Cleveland its 23rd straight loss; San Antonio beat Sacramento easily behind Tony Parker‘s 25 points; and the Jazz got huge nights from Deron Williams (26 points, 12 assists) and Al Jefferson (28 points, 10 rebounds) to beat Denver … We’re out like fouls at the rim …