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First impressions: Celtics 102, Mavericks 93

Instant reaction after the Boston Celtics posted a 102-93 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks Saturday night at the America Airlines Center:

How the game was won:Paul Pierce registered a game-high 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while Rajon Rondo chipped in 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists as the Celtics surged late past the Mavericks. Ray Allen finished with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting with a quartet of 3-pointers, posting a team-best plus-24 in the plus/minus category. Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavericks with 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting over 42 minutes.

Turning point: In a game that rarely tipped heavy one way or the other, the Celtics were nursing a one-point advantage when Pierce drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key, then registered a steal that led to a layup in transition for Rondo as Boston opened a 99-93 advantage with 1:17 to play. The Mavericks did not register a field goal over the final three minutes of play and the Celtics scored the final eight points.

Turning point II: Dallas led, 82-75, with 8:34 to go in the fourth frame when Boston embarked on a 15-6 run to pull ahead 90-88. It was back and forth for a bit before the Celtics surged to the finish line.

Stat of the game: Boston's starters shot 55.7 percent overall (34 of 61) and combined for 89 points.

Unsung hero: On a night the Boston bench offered little in terms of productivity, Glen Davis chipped in seven points on 3-of-5 shooting with four rebounds over 17 minutes. The rest of the five-man bench combined for six total points.

What it means: The Celtics obtained that "quality" win the team had been so desperately seeking by taking down a team that had won 14 of its last 15 while surging towards the top of the Western Conference standings. Not only did Boston beat the Mavericks, they did it on the second night of a back-to-back, mustering up the energy to match Dallas step for step after a gritty win in Houston.