Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks: Predictions, Starting Lineups (1/22/24)

The Boston Celtics (33-10) battle the Dallas Mavericks (24-18) this Monday (1/22/24). Get Celtics vs. Mavericks moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks Prediction

Boston outscores opponents by 18.8 points per 100 possessions during the first quarter, which leads the league (via NBA.com). Their success is largely due to their starting lineup, although Al Horford will replace an injured Kristaps Porzingis tonight. Despite the center change, the Celtics still have the tools to take the first quarter at a high frequency.

Dallas struggles mightily to protect the interior, as they give up the 12th most paint field goal attempts per game and the third largest paint field goal percentage. Boston ranks eighth in points per drive and features four starters that can initiate off the bounce. Therefore, they can frequently force switches and punish mismatches, such as Kyrie Irving. If Dereck Lively II camps near the free throw line when defending high ball screens to deter drivers, then Al Horford’s shooting (41.2 3PT%) will be a dangerous counterpunch too.

The Mavericks’ exploitable point-of-attack defense also allows opponents to find success via drive-and-kicks. They subsequently surrender the fifth most corner attempts per game. That doesn’t bode well against a Boston lineup that has great shooting at all five positions.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are a complete nightmare to guard; however, Jrue Holiday and Derrick White may be up to the task. Holiday’s strength is a major asset against Doncic, who typically dominates via power against smaller guards. Meanwhile, White has the quickness to somewhat handle Irving. Dallas will find it difficult to hunt mismatches too because Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are both versatile, long defenders.

Dallas’ best chance of snatching an early lead is via the three-point line. Boston gives up the second most wide open three-point attempts per game, and the Mavericks roster plenty of snipers from deep.

Overall, Boston’s lineup is more balanced and superior defensively. Therefore, the best bet is to back them winning the first quarter.

Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks Prediction: 1st Quarter Celtics -0.5

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Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks Best Odds

Despite Porzingis’ injury, Boston remains favored by nearly three points in this matchup. They have struggled on the road this season to the tune of an 8-12-2 record against the spread. Dallas, on the other hand, is a mediocre 11-11 against the spread at home.

For Dallas’ +124 to be profitable in the long run, they need to win here at least 44 percent of the time.

Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Derrick White
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Al Horford

Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup

PG: Luka Doncic
SG: Kyrie Irving
SF: Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF: Derrick Jones Jr.
C: Dereck Lively II

Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks Injuries

Kristaps Porzingis is out, so Al Horford will get the start at center for Boston. Dallas will be without Dante Exum and Seth Curry, which somewhat depletes their bench. The Mavericks hold the injury advantage here.

Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks Key Matchups

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving’s 3PT Shooting

Boston’s defense shuts down corner looks but allows the most above the break three-point attempts per game. Doncic and Irving combine to shoot a 37.8 three-point percentage on 15.6 above the break attempts per game, so their efficiency is crucial in this matchup. If they start out hot from deep, then Dallas has a good chance of winning the first quarter.

Dereck Lively II’s Scoring

Although 37-year-old Al Horford remains a quality player, he is a below-the-rim defender that doesn’t possess the athleticism to jump with lob threats. Therefore, Lively sits in an excellent position as a roller due to his enormous catch radius and vertical leap. If he can provide balance to Dallas’ offense by contributing points around the rim, then their offense becomes far more dangerous.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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