Nowitzki, Mavericks Crush Shorthanded Celtics

Dirk Nowitzki takes a shot against Chris Wilcox during Monday's Celtics-Mavericks game in Dallas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Hmm… let’s see. The Celtics struggled badly with rebounds Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks. They also couldn’t move the ball offensively, find open shots or accomplish anything in the paint.

The Celtics played the Mavericks without Kevin Garnett (family matter), Brandon Bass (knee) and Rajon Rondo (two-game suspension). They lost to the Mavericks, 89-73.

For some reason, I can’t help but think the two previous paragraphs are related.

Nowitzki’s Double-Double Highlights Celtics Struggles

Without Garnett or Bass, the Celtics had few options for defending Dirk Nowitzki. Whoever Boston sent at Nowitzki, he made that defender look silly.

It didn’t matter if Nowitzki was in the low post, high post, top of the key, whatever. Nowitzki scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the first half, including a run of 10 consecutive points in the second quarter. A particularly abusive move on Jermaine O’Neal highlighted that run.

Along with all those points came 16 rebounds and two blocks. The Mavericks out-rebounded the Celtics eight, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds to the Celtics’ five. They also out-scored the Celtics 32-18 in the paint, getting a solid nine points from reserve power forward Brandan Wright.

Wright scored an alley-oop bucket from reserve guard Jason Terry (16 points on 6-of-11 shooting) in the second, then added an emphatic dunk in the fourth. He also grabbed two offensive rebounds in the same possession, eventually kicking it out to Terry for a three-pointer that put the Mavericks up 40-26 in the second.

The Celtics showed moments of offensive consistency that led to moves in the paint, in particular a fast-break dunk by Ray Allen followed by a dribble-penetration from Paul Pierce that made it 44-34 late in the second. But overall the Celtics never looked in rhythm, throwing up crazy shots in the lanes or running anemically into defenders for easy blocks.

Pierce (20 points), Allen (15) and Avery Bradley (12) did their best, but with Bradley running the offense the Celtics lose most of the fluidity Rondo typically brings. And with so few second-chance scoring opportunities, the Celtics’ stiff, disjointed offense just meant more minutes on defense.

The Celtics didn’t lead at any point during Monday’s game. Their five-point deficit after one quarter became 10 after two and 17 after three.

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Celtics Sign Sasha Pavlovic to Apparently Second Season

Signing a one-year deal Monday, Sasha Pavlovic will be playing what's apparently his second year with the Celtics. (Photo by Keith Allison)

In a move sure to please anyone named Sasha Pavlovic, the Celtics re-signed Sasha Pavlovic to a one-year deal Monday. The move is undoubtedly a thing come true for Celtics fans, who best remember Pavlovic as the guy Ray Allen made cry during the 2008 NBA Finals.

Wait, that was Sasha Vujacic? Then who the hell did the Celtics sign?

For those unfamiliar with Pavlovic… join the club. The Celtics signed Pavlovic back in March after he finished his third 10-day contract of the 2010-11 season, this one with the Hornets. Apparently, no one wanted him for longer than that.

Pavlovic averaged 8.8 valueless minutes in 17 games for the Celtics, kicking in a completely forgettable 1.8 points and 0.9 rebounds. If math isn’t your thing, remember: that’s fewer than one basket and board per game.

An NBA player since 2003 – when he was somehow drafted 19th overall – Pavlovic has never won anything or been named anything important. When GMs talk about Pavlovic, they most commonly mention that he played on the 2006-07 Eastern Conference-champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Basically, the best thing about Pavlovic is LeBron James.

Pavlovic is so nondescript that he couldn’t even distinguish himself in the YUBA League, the not-so-uber-competitive professional basketball league of Bulgaria.

He did play for KK Budućnost Podgorica during their YUBA League-championship 2000-01 season, somehow averaging even fewer points than he averaged for the Celtics.

Apparently a small forward, Pavlovic is sixth on the depth chart behind Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, rookie JaJuan Johnson, Lucky the Leprachaun and David Cohen, Celtics Account Executive.

Still, Pavlovic’s signing is great for GM Danny Ainge. Instead of having to actually work towards improving the roster by signing a player with talent, Ainge can instead just offer a contract to Pavlovic, who would probably accept Upper Deck basketball cards with his name on them as payment.

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