he Celtics have won three straight in dominant fashion and the Mavericks have won four in a row heading into Wednesday night’s matchup.
Boston (6-4) looks like one of the league’s most improved teams thanks to this streak that includes victories by 106-93 over Atlanta last Friday, 100-85 at Oklahoma City on Sunday and 111-95 at Houston on Monday. All of the Celtics’ wins have been by at least 13 points.
“It doesn’t matter now, it’s one game at a time, we’ve played 10 games,” said coach Brad Stevens, whose team won 40 games a season ago. “So if we’re in a good position after 65 or 70 then you’d look at it differently but everybody’s trying to find themselves now and we’ve got to get a lot better too.”
Dallas (7-4) is enjoying its longest win streak since January, surviving 39.5 percent shooting to beat Philadelphia 92-86 on Monday to improve to 2-0 on this three-game trip. Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and Chandler Parsons added 20.
The Mavericks, who forced 27 turnovers Monday for their most since last November, are limiting opponents to 39.5 percent shooting in this win streak. That’s helped them overcome the struggles of offseason acquisition Wesley Matthews, averaging 10.1 points on 34.1 percent shooting and going 4 for 21 in his last two games.
“We’ve been waiting for a game when we all kind of put it together, that’s going to be a fun game when that happens,” Parsons said. “But it’s promising that we’re still winning games, getting stops when we need to. We look forward to that game where everyone’s got the hot hand with the potent offense that we all expect it to be.”
Dallas continues to limit the minutes of Parsons as he recovers from knee surgery. He sat out Saturday’s 110-98 victory over the Rockets before returning to play a season-high 20 minutes Monday.
“I know I’m coming out when I get to that 20-minute mark,” said Parsons, who scored at least 10 points for the first time. “Hopefully extend it out in Boston and see how it feels.”
The Mavericks have won five straight over the Celtics and have taken the last nine matchups with Nowitzki on the court. Nowitzki is averaging 22.3 points in those games.
Avery Bradley averaged 27.0 points in last season’s two defeats to Dallas. He is averaging 17.5 points in two games since returning after missing one with a leg injury.
Isaiah Thomas has keyed Boston’s win streak by averaging 22.0 points and 8.0 assists while shooting 53.2 percent. The point guard shot 31.3 percent in the three games prior to this stretch.
“Coach put me in position to be successful and the shots happened to fall,” Thomas said. “I’m gonna keep shooting, I’m going to continue to have confidence in myself and my teammates have confidence in me so I’m going to keep doing my job.”
The Celtics have also received a boost from Jae Crowder, who scored a season-high 16 points Monday and is averaging 10.8. Crowder will face Dallas for the second time since he was traded to Boston on Dec. 28 as part of the deal that brought Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks.