The Mavs will continue their East-coast road trip tonight against the Boston Celtics. For information purposes, you should know that the Mavericks hold a seven-game winning streak against the Celtics. For practical purposes, you should know that doesn't mean anything in tonight's matchup.
Kings of the mountain
In case you've been living under a rock (or completely fixated on the NFL), you know that the Celtics have been an almost unstoppable force for much of the season and currently hold the best record in the NBA at 35-8. It's probably safe to say that they'll win the Atlantic division handily. They currently have a 11-game lead over the second-place Raptors. They have the top-ranked defense in the league, allowing 88.2 points per game—two points less than the second-place team in the league. They are very efficient and are in the top 10 in all shooting percentages. They get to the free-throw line quite a bit also.
Big 3...or Big 2 if you want to be stingy
Kevin Garnett is a solid MVP candidate, Paul Pierce has reminded everyone how good he really is and Ray Allen is providing the outside balance that helps free up the other two with proper room to work. Garnett was the top vote getter in All-Star voting and will start the game, Pierce is probably a lock to be a reserve, but Allen is on the cusp. There are several other guards in the East that are likely more deserving, so we'll see how much coaches want to reward the Celtics for their successes. Either way, the PGA tour (or GAP Band, G.P.A 3.0 or Three Amigos, depending on what you prefer) is probably the best top 3 in the league. Too bad Garnett, who's been nursing an abdominal injury, probably won't play tonight.
Big 3, then Big Drop Off
If Garnett, Pierce and Allen are the Big 3, then the rest of the Celtics can probably be referred to as the Big Drop Off as the talent level and experience take a big dive. This is why you have heard and will hear the Celtics in pretty much any discussions when a veteran is about to be cut loose by his current team. The Grizzlies bought out Damon Stoudamire. The Clippers are supposedly looking to shed Sam Cassell. Chris Anderson is looking to make a come back. Guess who's mentioned in all of these situations? The Celtics are obviously very pleased with their Big 3, but those guys can't play 48 minutes per night, and they need a better bench if they want to dominate throughout the playoffs. Starters Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins have been decent, and good in spots, but the Celtics probably want some more consistent options instead of relying so much on youngsters.
Random useless fact
Paul Pierce's nickname "The Truth" was given to him by Shaq.
Are they pulling a "2007 Mavs" and burning too much energy in the regular season?
-Scooter Hendon, Hoops Nerd