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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

ONLINE ONLY: Mavs vs. Celtics – so far, not so good

Dallas+Mavericks+guard+Luka+Doncic+tries+to+drive+past+Boston+Celtics+forward+Jayson+Tatum+during+Game+2+of+the+NBA+Finals+basketball+series+on+June+9+in+Boston.+
(Photo/Associated Press)
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic tries to drive past Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum during Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball series on June 9 in Boston.

Editor’s note: This is a recap of the first two games of this year’s NBA Finals. Check back here later for continuing coverage of the series.

GAME 1

The Boston Celtics dominated the Dallas Mavericks 107-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals June 6 in Boston. The Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis, who had 22 and 20 points respectively. Porzingis had a fantastic first quarter against his former team. He had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 1-of-2 from the 3-point line.

The Celtics started their dominance right away, going on a 37-20 run in the first quarter.  That was the biggest point differential in a first quarter in NBA Finals history. They also hit seven threes in the first quarter. The Celtics at one point took a 29-point lead in the second quarter at 58-29, but the Mavs cut it down to 21. The score was 63-42 at half.

Mavericks point guard Luka Dončić finished the game with 30 points. Dončić was the only Maverick above 10 points in the first half, scoring 17. The Mavericks started the second half hot, going on a 22-9 run and cutting the lead to 72-64. That was as close as the Mavericks got to coming back. The Celtics increased the lead to 20 at the end of the third quarter, making it 86-66.

In the fourth quarter, the game was mostly conceded by the Mavericks. Dončić and Kyrie Irving only played six minutes. Irving took no shots in the quarter. Irving struggled all night, shooting 6 of 19 from the field and shooting 0 of 5 from the 3-point-line. Irving has now lost 11 straight to Boston since leaving Boston for Brooklyn in the summer of 2019 and joining the Mavs last year.

GAME 2

Down 0-1, the Mavs faced off against the Celtics for Game 2 at the TD Garden Arena on June 9. The game was a back-and-forth matchup from start to finish that was a good reminder of just how different each game of the series can be even if the Mavericks didn’t clench it, coming up short 98-105.

Compared to the first game, the Mavericks in the first quarter came out strong, allowing no lead changes and controlling the pace.

Unfortunately, a strong first half wasn’t enough. Throughout Game 2, it was talked about how Boston’s lack of 3-pointers didn’t  affect their overall game. The Celtics are showing that even in the finals they can keep a consistent offense and defense. Compared to the first game, it was mainly the Mavericks offense that was lacking, as missed 3-pointers plagued the whole team for three quarters. It turned out to be a bad game that Irving couldn’t seem to get past. It was obvious the Mavs fixed a lot of issues with offense.
Dončić and Irving were a lot more effective than they were in Game 1. Dončić was seen in the beginning of the broadcast taking off a tight wrap near his stomach. It was revealed before the game that he was dealing with a thoracic contusion. The Mavs star, who is no stranger to playing through injuries, was given a pain killing injection for relief, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Malika Andrews.

The Mavs offense took its time more often. There was more fouling throughout the game.  The ball was being shared more, less 3-pointers were missed and more 2-pointers made. Although Dončić sat out a few more times than he did in Game 1, he still managed to get the most game time at 42 minutes and 17 seconds.
The top three scorers for Dallas were Dončić with 32 points, P.J. Washington Jr. with 17 points and Irving with 16. Derrick Jones Jr. had 11 points and Dereck Lively II played a great defensive game throughout. The game’s first lead change at 35-56 at about the 8-minute mark in the second quarter after the biggest Mavs lead was seven points.

Boston found its groove as many of their top players finished the game near if not in the 20-point range. Boston’s top scorer list was a bit more spread out with four players having more points than the Mavericks. Jrue Holiday had 26 points, Jaylen Brown followed with 21 points, while Jayson Taytum and Derrick White each scored18 points.

Quarter 3 was a high scoring a quarter starting with the Celtics Leading 54-51 and ending with Boston ahead  83-74. The quarter would have three lead changes but toward the end the Celtics went on an 8-0 run to capture a 10-point lead that would pretty much remain throughout the rest of the quarter.

In the final quarter, Boston led the entire 12 minutes. The Mavericks seemed unable to recover from the end of the third quarter as Boston hovered a 10-point lead throughout the quarter. They managed to get it down to a 5-point game but it wasn’t enough with close to only a minute left.

Overall, The Mavericks did a much better job in Game 2. Until the last minutes of the quarter, they hustled to get the lead down to a manageable number multiple times.

Boston will be a tough team to beat but if the Mavs can expand on the good things of this game and fix mistakes, they should be able to get a game won and generate some momentum.

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