After opening their World Championship defense with straight losses, the Dallas Mavericks have somewhat righted the ship. In their last seven, they've gone 5-2 and have won two straight heading into Wednesday's encounter with the Boston Celtics, who got off to a similarly slow start themselves. The Celtics followed up their 0-3 start with a four-game winning streak that was snapped on Friday with a loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The recent form allows both teams to head into the game at Boston's TD Garden looking much more like the potential finals preview many expected it to be. Dirk Nowitzki seems to have regained the touch that helped him win NBA Finals MVP, scoring 18 points on 9 of 10 shooting in Tuesday's win over the Detroit Pistons.
Paul Pierce also appears to be slowly rounding into shape after missing the season's first three games with an injury. Pierce has scored 55 points in his past three games, although he is coming off a 3 of 17 shooting performance in which he scored just 10 points. More than his offense, Pierce seems to have helped the Celtics' defensively. After allowing 106.0 points per game during his three-game absence, the Celtics have limited opponents to 84.0 points per game.
Date/Time: Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST
Place: TD Garden, Boston