What happens when you face the defending NBA champions without your best all-around player (Rajon Rondo) and your best defender (Kevin Garnett)? You get a blowout win with Dirk Nowitzki going off for 26 points and 16 boards in a 89-73 Dallas Mavericks trampling of the Boston Celtics on the second night of a back-to-back for the C's on Monday night.
Nowitzki made 10-of-24 shots to lead Dallas (21-12), which shot just 40.4 percent. Jason Terry scored 16 points off the bench and Shawn Marion was the only other player to reach double-digit scoring or the Mavs, finishing with 11 points.
Unsurprisingly, the Celtics (15-16) sorely missed Rondo's offensive direction and Garnett's presence in the post, although second-year guard Avery Bradley filled in admirably for Rondo, totaling 12 points. Paul Pierce led the team with 20 points, Ray Allen scored 15 and JaJuan Johnson (eight points) and Mickael Pietrus (six points) led the C's bench.
Rondo, and possibly Garnett as well, will be out again when the Celtics try to snap their four-game skid against the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday evening.