The NBA's second-leading scorer tortured the Mavericks again, this time racking up 29 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 111-98 win on Monday night at American Airlines Center.
The Celtics (36-19) won for the 10th time in 11 games and snapped a six-game losing streak in Dallas. Boston, which also won both games in the season series, finished off a 3-1 road trip.
"It means a lot," Thomas said. "More important are these last two games. We need to end these last two games before the All-Star Game on the right foot, and hopefully we get two more."
The Celtics return home Wednesday to face Philadelphia before heading to Chicago the following night for their last game before All-Star weekend.
Thomas scored 30 points in the previous meeting in November -- 22 in the fourth quarter of a 90-83 victory in Boston. The All-Star wasn't as lethal in the fourth quarter this time, but his 3-pointer put the Celtics up 100-89 with 4 1/2 minutes left and ended any upset hopes by the Mavs.
"I thought they got going a little bit at the end of the third and made a ton of free throws in the third," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "And I thought we started off the fourth guarding a little bit better, and then we were really skilled there at the end and guys made the right play over and over."
Thomas also added eight assists and made four 3-pointers. Marcus Smart, a Dallas native, scored 19 points for Boston. Kelly Olynyk scored 15 off the bench, nine coming in the fourth. Al Horford had 11 points and Jae Crowder returned from a two-game absence to score 10.
As much as the Celtics' depth wore down the Mavericks, it was Thomas that left Dallas' franchise stat in awe.
"Incredible. He's a big-time shotmaker, but where he gets you is his drives to the basket," Dirk Nowitzki said. "They spread the floor with a lot of shooters and he gets to the basket and is a crafty finisher in there. They have some athletes around him. They complement him very well. They're a good team."
Rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell scored 20 points to lead Dallas, picking up the slack for starter Deron Williams, who was ejected in the first half. Harrison Barnes had 19 points, and Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews each scored 18.
The Mavericks, at Detroit on Wednesday in their final game before the break, were outscored 28-16 in the fourth quarter after making it a game in the third. Dallas (22-33) had just five field goals in the fourth quarter in the finale of a 2-2 homestand.
Boston shot 49.4 percent from the floor and made 16 of 34 3-pointers. Nine of the 10 who played for Boston made at least one shot from beyond the arc.
Though the Mavs had their chances, Carlisle didn't see enough consistency against the second-place team in the Eastern Conference.
"They have a legitimate chance to get to the Finals with that team out of the East," he said. "It's a very good basketball team, so when you play a team at that level you just have to bet on it from the very beginning."
Boston built an 11-point point lead in the second quarter before Dallas reeled off an 8-0 run. That momentum didn't last, and the Mavs shot themselves in the foot before the half.
Williams picked up two technicals after being called for an offensive foul and was tossed. Ferrell fouled Thomas on a long 3-point try with 0.6 of a second left and the point guard sank all three free throws.
The Celtics' advantage was back up to 11 (61-50) at the break. Thomas had 18 points going into the locker room, including six in the final 36 seconds of the second quarter. He also nailed three 3-pointers early in the first quarter.
Smart had 17 points in the half and Green scored all 10 of his points before halftime.
-- Boston F Jae Crowder was back with the team after missing two games because of a family matter. He began his career with the Mavs. "We shouldn't have traded him," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
-- Celtics rookie F Jaylen Brown (hip flexor) is likely out until after the All-Star break, coach Brad Stevens said.
-- Carlisle credited Boston's foresight on acquiring All-Star PG Isaiah Thomas after stops in Sacramento and Phoenix. "The Celtics saw the brilliance in his game," Carlisle said. "He's an absolute menace to try to guard."
-- Celtics F Gerald Green (illness) and Dallas PG Deron Williams (illness) were active.
-- Carlisle on the death of former Celtics first-round pick Fab Melo, who was briefly part of the Mavs' organization: "It's tragic when a guy who's 26 passes. He was an energetic young man."