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Celtics Were Motivated By Another Crack At Mavericks, Luka Doncic

BOSTON — It’s not often when Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown take the court and one of them isn’t the best player. That was the case Wednesday night against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

Tatum and Brown played a tremendous game, leading the Celtics to a 125-112 victory over the Mavs. Both men hit the 30-point plateau, leading to their coaches and teammates heaping praise on them as they helped Boston bounce back from a loss on Monday. It was a perfect night at TD Garden for the Celtics and their two MVP candidates, except for that pesky Doncic character.

“Matchups like these, against a really good team and one of the best players in the league — especially because we don’t play them that often — (are special),” Tatum said postgame. “To be honest, Dallas has gotten the best of us these last few years.”

That they have, and the reason lies solely in the hands of Doncic.

Dallas was 4-0 in their last four matchups with Boston entering Wednesday, with Doncic averaging 31.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists. Oh yeah, he also hit this gut-wrenching shot.

On Wednesday, Doncic did it again and exploded for 42 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, essentially serving as the only reason why the game wasn’t a complete laughing stock for Dallas. Seemingly every basket the Mavericks made had his fingerprints on it, with the Celtics spending the majority of the game trying to force the ball out of his hands — which ended up being the difference.

Of course, the respect goes both ways as Doncic went out of his way to praise Tatum and Brown both before and after the matchup.

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