BOSTON (CBS) – The Celtics and Mavericks meet for the second time this season Friday night in Boston.
The Mavericks took round one 89-87 in Dallas on November 8th, so the Celtics will look to avenge their early season loss.
“Last time we played Dallas we lost to them,” center Kendrick Perkins, who missed that game due to injury, said at practice Thursday. “We happen to be back home in kind of a must-win situation.”
“Obviously it’s a big game anyways when you play teams like Dallas,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “We have some good games coming up and I think that’s good for us.”
After Friday, the Celtics welcome three of the NBA’s top teams in the Magic, Lakers and Heat to Boston, with a trip to Charlotte mixed in between.
Before they get to anyone else, the Celtics have to worry about Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who averages more points against the Celtics than any other team. Against the C’s, Dirk scores an average of 27.3 points per game, including 27.7 in Boston. He also hit the go-ahead shot in Dallas with just 20 seconds left in the game back in November.
Dallas comes in riding a six-game win streak, while the Celtics just wrapped up a 3-1 West Coast road trip.
Perkins may get his first start of the season in place of injured center Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq did not practice Thursday, and Rivers had a little fun when asked why.
“He’s 38,” Rivers joked. “I think it’s his Achilles, it’s inflamed. We’ll see, we may play him (Friday), we may not.”
Injured guard Delonte West, out since late November with a broken wrist, also did not practice on Thursday but participated in the team’s shoot around. Rivers said the next step would be to practice with the team, but there is no timetable when that could happen.