Fleet Center, Boston MA 11/15/02 – If you’re going to play against the best guns in the West then you have to make sure you’re six shooters will have pinpoint accuracy. Fleet Center, Boston MA 11/15/02 – If you’re going to play against the best guns in the West then you have to make sure you’re six shooters will have pinpoint accuracy. The Mavericks are a team that can shoot it from all angles and they feature one of the best hired gun in the League, Dirk Nowitzki. Antoine Walker and Shammond Williams hit their mark on a consistent basis, but both Tony Delk and Paul Pierce, in particular, were off target.
Tony Delk had the early inside feed to Walker from 6-feet out for the game’s first two points. But the gunning guards for the two teams, Paul Pierce (0-for-4 in the 1st quarter) and Michael Finley (1-for-8), got off to a bad start by Pierce missing a 12-footer and Finley flunking a dunk. Battie then followed with a slam from Delk’s feed. Walker was the next Celtic to score when he hit another two from an inside look by Paul Pierce. Delk then followed by being the next to get on board when he finished a drive. Another Celtic possession resulted in Walker receiving a pass from Eric Williams to make it 10-8 in favor of the home team. The sold out crowd showed their pleasure toward the Celtics’ initial game plan of getting the ball inside, but that lasted for about 3 minutes and 47 seconds. That’s when 7’6” Shawn Bradley checked in the game for former Celtic, Adrian Griffin. And that’s when the Celtics abandoned their inside game. McCarty subbed in for Eric Williams and was blocked less than two minutes later by Bradley. Vin Baker checked in for Tony Battie and had his shot sent back by Bradley less than a minute after that. Shammond Williams checked into the game for Tony Delk but he drained four points in five minutes and a second. Tony Delk reentered the game for Paul Pierce and got his shot blocked with 23.2 seconds left in the first – by Bradley. “That’s my job on this team”, said the former Philadelphia pick out of Brigham Young University. “To defense and if not block it, to create a difficult shot for the other team. Make them work … If we can change the shot or make them make the extra pass, or something like that, they’re not doing what they want to do first which is in our benefit.”
By the end of the 1st, Dallas had the edge 25-20. Nowitzki, who would end the night with 32 points (8-for-8 from the free throw line), 9 rebounds (all defensive), 7 assists, a steal, and a block shot, already scored in double digits (11 points) and shot 4-for-8 from the field, including 1-for-2 from way out there, and 2-for2 from the line. The well-rounded player, who seems to play three positions at once on the court, also grabbed four defensive rebounds and added two assists. “I just tried to be aggressive offensively,” Nowitzki commented. “I just tried to be aggressive and get my shots up.”
Antoine Walker was the lone bright spot for the Celtics in that quarter, making 4-for-6 from the field and surprisingly, not taking an attempt beyond the arc.
Walker picked up from where he left off in the 2nd quarter. After Walt “Wizard” Williams (a University of Maryland classmate of your writer) opened with a three, ‘Toine grabbed a cold shooting Tony Delk’s rebound and put up another two, this time over Bradley. Pierce finally hit a shot soon after but it was a tough fade away from fifteen feet out. In between Walker’s next four points (both field goals from inside 10 feet), Michael Finley slammed home a vicious follow-up to make the score 35-28 with 7:46 to go in the half. Three minutes and forty-two seconds later, when the Mavericks were starting to get cold outside, the Wizard gave the Celtics something to think about for his second three-pointer of the game making the score 42-33. The feed came from Steve Nash, who made it look like he knew what he was going to do with the ball two seconds before it actually happened. “I just come in and do whatever I can to help this team”, Williams said. “Whether it’s rebounding, penetrating,