THE NITTY GRITTY
Jerryd Bayless got hot late and helped fuel a fourth-quarter comeback attempt while scoring a team-high 19 points, while Kelly Olynyk added 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench, finishing a team-best plus-15 in plus/minus, but the Celtics couldn't come all the way back from a 15-point deficit. Dirk Nowitzki scored a team-high 19 points, while Monta Ellis added 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. The Celtics shot just 36.6 percent (34-of-93), but utilized 21 offensive rebounds to generate 16 second-chance points.
The Mavericks were up 15 with 4:19 to play in the third quarter, but Boston wouldn't go quietly despite heavy legs on the second night of a back-to-back. The Celtics closed the frame on a 12-0 burst -- Olynyk scoring the final five -- to make it a one-possession game. Dallas pushed its lead back as high as 12 with 6:25 remaining in the game, but Boston surged as close as one (90-89) when Avery Bradley ripped Ellis and produced a fastbreak dunk with 21.6 seconds to play. Brandan Wright, however, had the biggest play of the game just moments before, utilizing a third-chance rebound to produce the winning points with a putback layup.
The Celtics played without point guard Rajon Rondo, who got planned rest on the second night of a back-to-back. ... Chris Babb and Joel Anthony were healthy DNPs for Boston. ... The Celtics won the battle on the glass 57-36 with help from their work on the offensive boards. Kris Humphries had seven offensive rebounds, while Jared Sullinger added five more. ... The Celtics turned the ball over 17 times, while Dallas had just 13 giveaways.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (22-46) have lost five straight and remain tied with Utah for the fourth-worst record in basketball. Boston will take Tuesday off after a back-to-back before hosting the defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday at TD Garden. A trip to Brooklyn looms on Friday, but the Celtics get a four-day break after that to catch their breath after a stretch that will have featured 10 games in 17 days, closing with seven games in 11 days, including a pair of back-to-backs.