BOSTON -- Forget, for a moment, all of the plots and sub-plots surrounding Jason Terry’s first game against the team he spent the past eight seasons playing for.
In the wake of Wednesday’s 117-115 double overtime loss to the Boston Celtics, what the Mavs wanted to discuss were the season-high 28 turnovers that wound up biting them in the backside.
“Look at the stat sheet,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “What I am is encouraged, because we got 28 turnovers and give up 34 points off turnovers, and to be in the game against this team is an encouraging fact.
“It means we’ve got a lot of positive upside to us and we’ve got to find it. We’ve got to find it with efficiency and we’ve got to do a better job at covering the ball one-on-one.”
And do a better job at protecting the basketball. Against the Celtics, the Mavs were in such a gift-giving mood that Boston must have thought Christmas had come early.
“We had turnovers that throughout the game killed us,” forward Shawn Marion said. “We can’t beat anyone with that many turnovers.”
The Mavs, who had their three-game winning streak snapped despite shooting 51.1 percent from the field, certainly couldn’t beat a quality team like the Celtics on the road with that many gaffes. And certainly the Mavs (11-11) will have to clean up their act before they play the middle part of this three-game road trip Friday in Toronto.
“We had 28 turnovers, so that says a lot right there,” guard O.J. Mayo said. “I take the most fault for it because I had nine.”
A driving layup by Rajon Rondo with 35.5 seconds left in double overtime gave the Celtics a 110-107 lead and a little breathing room. Darren Collison then missed a jumper, and Paul Pierce split a pair of free throws as Boston went up 111-107 with 19.3 ticks to go.
Dallas crawled within one, 111-110, on a three-pointer by Vince Carter, who finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists. But Pierce added four free throws during a three-second span as Boston went up again by three, 115-112, with 5.3 seconds remaining.
Dallas’ last chance to send the game into a third overtime went awry when Collison tossed an inbounds pass intended for Rodrigue Beaubois out of bounds with 4.7 seconds left. Courtney Lee then drained a couple of free throws for Boston, making Mayo’s three-pointer at the buzzer inconsequential.
Carlisle said he believed both teams ran out of gas in a game that saw Rondo play 53 minutes, Mayo play 52 and Terry play 48.
“And then what happened was Rondo got to the rim, we got to the rim once or twice and didn’t finish. [After] 51 minutes you’re going to be tired, I don’t care how great of shape you’re in.”
Mayo led the Mavs with 24 points and six rebounds, and Collison had 20 points and six assists but also turned the ball over seven times. Dahntay Jones and Chris Kaman each tallied 12 points and, in his first game back after missing two with a strained right groin muscle, Marion collected 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots.
Boston led 68-54 midway trough the third period and appeared on its way to running away from the Mavs. But Dallas meticulously got back into the game and eventually took its first lead at 95-94 on a 3-pointer by Derek Fisher with 1:47 left in regulation.
“I think we were able to make them take tough shots and that opened the game up for us,” Marion said. “When we were able to do that, we got back into the game and we were just playing ball.
“Everybody was making passes and looking for each other and that’s what you’ve got to play. We’ve got to make the passes and make the simple plays.”
Terry wound up with 10 points, and was 3-of-10 from the field, including 1-of-6 from 3-point range.
Rondo could have ended the game in regulation, but his jumper at the buzzer was blocked by Derek Fisher. And Pierce could have closed the deal at the end of the first overtime, but his jumper was blocked by Dahntay Jones.
The Mavs, who had seven players in double figures, left the building knowing if they could have protected the ball better, they could have flown to Toronto a little happier.
“We showed a lot of guts hanging in this thing and we’ve got to be able to make some plays,” Carlisle said. “We had our opportunities and I’m disappointed, but I’m not disappointed.
“There’s positives in this game. But ultimately we shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @DwainPrice