June 16, 2024

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2024 NBA Finals: Celtics dominate Mavericks in Game 1 win while Kristaps Porzinis shines in return

2024 NBA Finals: Celtics dominate Mavericks in Game 1 win while Kristaps Porzinis shines in return

The Boston Celtics, behind a huge return from Kristaps Porzinis, made a statement early in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics, who blew a 29-point first-half lead, cruised to a dominant 107-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night at TD Garden. The Celtics have now won eight straight games, and they have won every game they have played in the postseason.

On the other hand, Luka Dončić and the Mavericks are now playing from behind in the franchise’s first NBA Finals appearance since winning the championship with Dirk Nowitzki in 2011. The Mavs have won five straight road games entering Thursday night as well.

Porziņģis has missed Boston’s last 10 games with a calf injury that he first suffered in the opening-round series against the Miami Heat.

But after coming off the bench for only the second time in his career, he immediately made up for lost time. Porziņģis put up eight points early in the first quarter, including a big early dunk after Derek Lively got past the second and bucket in Josh Green’s face. That led the Celtics to a double-digit lead and forced a Mavericks stoppage early in the first period.

Then he came out of a timeout, drilled a 3-pointer very deep and immediately came up with a block on the other end to set up another 3-pointer for the Celtics. And just like that, after a 23-5 run, the Celtics had a 17-point lead. This represents the largest lead after the first quarter in Game 1 in NBA Finals history.

Porziņģis and the Celtics continued their surge in the second quarter and easily took a 21-point lead into the locker room at intermission. They opened the second quarter on a 21-11 run, led by 29 points and made 11 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes. Porzinis scored 18 points and shot 7 of 9 from the field in the first half. The Mavericks, on the other hand, got just 3 of their 13 points from the 3-point line.

Despite the huge deficit early, Dallas began to slowly chip away at Boston’s lead in the third quarter. Then, after a few huge buckets from Kyrie Irving and a 3-pointer from Doncic to make it 20-6, it was suddenly an eight-point game.

However, this was as close as Dallas got. Boston immediately rebounded after the timeout and finished the period on a 14-2 run. That gave the Celtics a 20-point lead again and was more than enough to propel them to the final 18-point win.

Porziņģis finished with 20 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. Jaylen Brown led the way with 22 points while shooting 7-of-12 from the field, and Jayson Tatum finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, although he had six turnovers. The Celtics set an NBA Finals record as well, with seven different players making multiple shots from beyond the arc.

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Doncic finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mavericks. He shot just 4 of 12 from behind the arc, and was responsible for all but three of Dallas’ 3-pointers. PJ Washington added 14 points and eight rebounds, and Irving finished with 12 points. The Mavs’ 89 points were the fewest they had scored in the postseason. They had just nine assists as a unit as well. By comparison, the Celtics had 23 assists and nine blocks.

Although it’s still early days — Doncic and Irving are more than capable of keeping the Mavericks in it — the Celtics look like a team poised to make a run for the 18th championship in franchise history. Sunday’s second game is by no means a must for Dallas, but the Mavericks will at least need to keep it close before the series heads to Texas. Otherwise, things could quickly get out of control.

He lives40 updates

  • Game 2 is set for Sunday night

    The two teams will return Sunday night in Boston, where the Celtics will try to take a 2-0 lead over the Mavericks.

    While this is by no means a must-have for Dallas, a second blowout at this point could mean we’re in for a quick streak this summer.

  • Final: Celtics 107, Mavericks 89

    Although things got closer briefly in the second half, the Celtics took a 1-0 lead over the Mavericks. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 22 points, and Kristaps Porzingis dropped 20 points in his return.

    Luka Doncic led all scorers with 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks.

  • The Celtics set the record by sharing the wealth from the three-point line

  • It was all Celtics, all night

    Aside from a quick burst at the start of the third quarter, the Celtics were in complete control of the game from the opening tap. Eight Celtics have played, and with 4:57 remaining in the game, six of them are in double figures.

    As a team, Boston is shooting 48% from the floor and 39% from three. A total team effort on the offensive end of the floor to go along with Kyrie Irving at just 12 points.

  • Celtics still hits 3

    It’s still just one goal in 11 for the non-Luka Mavericks from long range, and Doncic has missed his last four attempts from outside as well. 5 of 23 as a team from beyond the arc. The Celtics, with 15-of-40 from deep, made almost as many misses as the Mavericks (18) with eight minutes left.

  • Bad signs for Dallas

    Make that 14-0. Dallas is struggling to create offense with Luka on the bench, and Kyrie can’t seem to find windows in the paint or connect from deep. Two of Dallas’ vaunted guards combined for three assists.

  • Kyrie Irving is suffering

    Kyrie Irving’s ineffectiveness really stood out as the Celtics built that lead back into a 20-plus point advantage. Porzingis scared him off on one drive and took a step back. Just 6 of 19 and 0-5 from 3 through three quarters with 3 turnovers.

  • Celtics go up on D

    Boston’s defense was stifling on this 11-0 run to push the lead back to 19. Jaylen Brown with big blocks. Jrue Holiday had turned on Doncic before that final break of his in the final minute of the third quarter.

  • Jaylen Brown Bloc Party

    The Celtics star was making big plays on the defensive end of the floor in Game 1.

  • Luca needs help

    Non-Luca 3: 1 out of 10. This is not optimal production for the Mavs, especially when the Celtics don’t mind getting 3 points

  • Celtics regain control

    After Luka Doncic’s 3-pointer cut Boston’s 29-point drive to 72-64 midway through the third quarter, Boston responded with an 8-0 run — aided by some light fouls from Derek Lively II — capped by Jayson Tatum’s 3-pointer. Tatum is going 13-8-5, and the Celtics look to close out the third better than the fourth quarter.

  • The Mavs cut the lead to single digits

    Well, well, well…the game’s not over yet. Luka Doncic’s 3 with 4:39 left in the third quarter cut the Celtics’ lead to just eight points at 72-64. Dončić has 27 points in the game and 10 in the quarter to put the Mavs back in it. While Dallas has trouble moving the ball on the offensive end — just five assists on 27 made baskets — Doncic is keeping them connected while Kyrie Irving struggles from the field for 12 points on 6-of-16 from the floor.

  • The Mavs make it a game

    This building became very quiet and angry when Luka Doncic came burning out of the depths. Dallas cut that number to 8 in less than 8 minutes, with 10 points coming from the Mavericks’ NBA star.

  • Dallas showed some life early in the second half

    After trailing by as many as 29 points in the first half, the Mavericks started the second half with some purpose, cutting the 21-point lead at halftime to 16 with 7:42 left in the third quarter. Two Kyrie Irving baskets and two Celtics turnovers helped steady the ship for the Mavs, who will need a run to get back into the game heading into the fourth quarter.

  • Luca takes off

    Luka was more bouncing in his legs and aggressive with his shot in the final minutes of the first half to finish with 17 points. Can this continue? This is the team that overcame an 18-point deficit in the third quarter in Game 6 against OKC…

  • Kristaps Porzingis leads the way with 18 points off the bench

    How’s that for coming back from injury? Eighteen points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor — including a couple of 3s — to go along with two blocks and 3 rebounds. Not a bad return to action after missing more than a month due to a calf strain.

  • The difference is 3 points

    This is the way the Celtics are designed, where 3-point shooting is their bread and butter, but a 24-point margin from distance (10 from 24 to 2 from 12 for Dallas) is the bulk of Boston’s 27 points. Edge now.

  • Jaylen Brown rises

    Daniel Gafford, welcome to your Kodak moment.

  • Boston is rolling

    The Celtics are crushing the Mavs right now. Luka can’t get the ball up the field. It looks like an explosion. More turnovers and a 29-point lead for Boston.

  • Porzingi is too much so far

    Porzingis is the one guy Dallas can’t plan for. His size is too big for the Mavs’ wings and his length on the edge hampers Kyrie and Luka. Porzingis had 15 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks off the bench at 6:29 of the second quarter.