How it happened: It was a minor miracle that the Mavs ever took a lead.
That lead didn’t last long -- although the game definitely -- and Dallas never got the lead back.
The Mavs managed to push the Celtics to two overtimes despite committing a season-high 28 turnovers, including 22 during regulation. The Mavs trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half, but a small-ball lineup featuring three guards, Vince Carter and 6-foot-7 Shawn Marion at center made a furious rally.
The Mavs took their first lead on a Derek Fisher 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining in regulation. That lasted a grand total of 16 seconds with Boston’s Paul Pierce knocking down a mid-range jumper the next possession.
The game was tied several times after that, but the Mavs never led again.
With Fisher fouled out, the Mavs appeared to run out of gas in the second overtime. Pierce, who had a game-high 34 points, opened the period by drilling an open 3, and the Mavs never pulled even again.
After O.J. Mayo entered the lineup, the Mavs failed to score on seven consecutive possessions. That included three missed shots and a turnover by Mayo, who led the Mavs with 24 points but committed a career-high nine turnovers while logging 52 minutes.
What it means: The Mavs (11-11) are back to .500 after their season-best-matching three-game winning streak was snapped. Dallas fell to 4-8 on the road. There is no such thing as a moral victory in the NBA, but the Mavs can at least be proud of the mental toughness they showed. Fisher and Dahntay Jones played especially tough defense, providing the kind of edge the Mavs have been missing much of the season. Darren Collison (20 points, six assists, five rebounds) had a confidence-boosting kind of performance.
Play of the game: Rajon Rondo (16 points, 15 assists, nine rebounds) in the open floor with an athletic finisher out ahead of him is a frightening sight. That scenario unfolded early in the fourth quarter when Kevin Garnett poked the ball away from Elton Brand near the top of the arc and got the rock to Rondo in transition. With two Mavs trailing him tightly, Rondo threw an on-the-run lob for Jeff Green, who got way up for the two-hand slam to stretch the Celtics’ lead to 82-77.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 1-8 against foes that are .500 or better.