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2024 NBA Finals: Celtics Blow Out Mavs in Game 1

2XAGCNY Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, right, drives past Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving during the first half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Boston Celtics came out firing in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, routing the Dallas Mavericks 107-89 to take a 1-0 lead in the seven-game series. 

Jaylen Brown led the team in scoring with an efficient 22 points on 7-12 shooting, while Kristaps Porziņģis returned from a calf injury with 20 points. Jayson Tatum wasn’t at his normal dominant best, managing just 16 points on just 6-16 shooting and giving up 6 turnovers. He did however make up for it on the boards, pulling in 11 rebounds to go with 5 assists.

Derrick White finished with 15 points and Jrue Holiday chipped in with 12, as all the Boston starters ended with double figures. Overall, the Celtics shot 47.6% from the field and 38.1% from the three, making 16-42 from deep.

Luka Doncic continued to impress in his first deep run in the postseason, scoring 30 points to go with 10 rebounds. Surprisingly, he only had the one assist, marking his lowest total in a playoff  game ever. 

PJ Washington was the only other bright spot for the Mavericks, adding 16 points and pickup 8 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had a night to forget, going 6-19 from the field for just 12 points. He received a loud boos Thursday when he was introduced before the game, which continued throughout the game whenever he touched the ball. Irving has previously played two seasons in Boston and was fined for using an obscene gesture during a 2022 playoff visit to TD Garden.

The Mavs only shot 25.9% from beyond the arc, which could be a combination of an off shooting night and the Celtics defense. The highest number of points they managed in a quarter was 24 in the third, showcasing how they couldn’t get any momentum with their offense.

After the game Doncic and the Mavs seemed quite relaxed with the loss, mentioning that they had lost the opening game in two past series as well.

Game 2 is at 8pm on Sunday at TD Garden. Boston will be looking to go ahead 2-0 which would put them in a dominant position to win a league-record 18th championship in franchise history. Dallas, on the other hand, will need to regroup and put Game 1 behind them as they seek to get some of the magic from the past couple rounds back.

The Celtics haven’t lost since Game 3 of the second round against the Cleveland Cavaliers, marking a 8 consecutive playoff games winning streak.

Full Game Summary

The Celtics didn’t show any rust from their 10-day layoff after sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals. 

After keeping it even for the first seven minutes, Boston put a foot on the accelerator to open up a 17 point lead to end the quarter. Despite coming off the bench, Porziņģis had an immediate impact on the game, knocking down a pair of free throws after being fouled by Doncic. Next possession he hit his first field goal with a short jumper over Doncic. Porziņģis ended the quarter with a quick 11 points and showed he could dominate the paint against the smaller Dallas team.

The Mavs traded brackets with the home team in the second frame but couldn’t make a dent into the score, down 21 going into the halftime break. 

Early in the third was when the Mavericks made their best run of the game, cutting the lead to eight points off the back of Doncic who had 15. Unfortunately for Dallas, they couldn’t keep the momentum going and before they knew it they were back down 86-66 entering the fourth quarter.

There wasn’t too much Dallas could do from there, emptying their bench into the game with about 5 minutes left in the game. In the end, the Celtics won rather easily and Dallas were left with a lot of questions heading into the rest of the series. With only 9 assists by the whole team, it’s clear that if the Mavs are going to have any chance in the series they will need to get the ball moving more in the upcoming games.