Mateo’s Hoop Diary: The Celtics mowed down the Mavericks in Game 1 of the Finals at TD Garden

The Mavericks hung around for 10 minutes, courtesy of Luka Dončić’s early burst of action, but the hosts doubled up their output midway through the second frame and continued to ravage them in the last two quarters at TD Garden. The guests refused to cover the arc, and their main two, Kyrie Irving and Dončić, were outperformed by Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porziņģis.

Early, Dončić was defended by Brown before the switch. He dribbled to the nail, hitting a 12-foot shot, breaking a double team to finish an acrobatic layup between four Celtics and connected on a step-back triple over his old teammate, Porziņģis.

Irving helped out, canning two mid-range jumpers on the right side, yet the rest of the Mavericks downed four of 12 baskets in the interval.

For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum was operating as an unsteady setup man, picking up three dimes and three turnovers on drives plus poor passes. The Celtics made seven of 15 trays in the period, but the tide shifted when Porziņģis checked in for Al Horford. The visitors were then overwhelmed by Gang Green as KP blocked two shots and tore up mismatches with his mid-range jumper. He also posted up Dereck Lively II and turned the corner on him to get inside for a dunk, and swished a trailing trifecta on the left side.

The Celtics closed the first quarter on a 24-7 run and led 37-20 at the end of it.

Subsequently, Brown targeted Dončić twice, dribbling left to the rim for a basket and blowing by a double team, resulting in a vicious dunk. His other two scores in the sequence were a corner banger and dunk after stripping Dončić at midcourt. Brown didn’t miss in the second quarter.

Porziņģis added three of four buckets, bringing his output to 18 points on 78% accuracy in the first half.

On the Mavericks side, making three of nine attempts to start the quarter had them behind 29 points with four minutes left until intermission. But Dončić and P.J. Washington sliced the deficit to 21 to end the half.

At the break, the Celtics were up 63-42 and ahead on the glass by eight. Additionally, the group had 22 paint points, eight in the open court, two via second chances, nine off turnovers and 24 from the bench.

The Mavericks had 24 interior marks, four in the open court, six on extra tries, six off turnovers and four from the reserves.

Next, the Mavericks came out of the break making nine of 17 shots through seven-and-a-half minutes. Irving tallied six points, including an impressive blow by Horford on the baseline. And Dončić dribbled to the cup twice past Tatum and Horford and swished two step-back triples to cut Boston’s lead to eight points. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla followed up with a timeout.

Defensively, the Celtics locked up the visitors for the rest of the quarter, allowing two points from the line and forcing eight consecutive misses. In that span, Brown had three blocks, denying Derrick Jones Jr.’s lob, then his follow-up dunk and swatting away Irving’s layup as the low help protector. And on offense, Porziņģis, Tatum, Brown and Horford scored 14 points.

The fourth quarter began with the Celtics on top 86-68.

The hosts went on a 14-7 run through nearly seven minutes. It compelled coach Jason Kidd to surrender, subbing out Dončić and Irving for Jaden Hardy and Dante Exum.

The Celtics won 107-89 and outrebounded the Mavs by four. Furthermore, the Celtics racked up 28 paint points, 10 on the break, 10 via second chances, 18 off turnovers and 32 from the bench.

Brown had 22 points on seven of 12 looks, with six rebounds, two assists, three steals, three blocks and two turnovers. Porziņģis tallied 20 marks on 62% shooting, with six boards and three denials. The other double-digit scorers were Tatum (16), White (15), Jrue Holiday (12) and Horford (10).

The Mavericks had 46 interior points, six in the open court, 16 on extra tries, 13 off turnovers and 20 from the reserves.

Dončić put up 30 points on 12 of 26 tries, with 10 rebounds, one assist, two steals and four turnovers. Washington logged 14 points on 45% accuracy, with eight boards and one dime. The other double-digit scorers were Hardy (13) and Irving (12).

Tatum handled the on-court interview. He said the team’s job was to suppress the players around Dončić. The other Mavericks made 39.6% of shots.

At the postgame presser, Porziņģis was asked about coming off the bench for the second time in his career. He said, “From day one, I came here (Boston) and said I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team win… I stepped into that role and embraced it and had a good game.”

Mazzulla was asked about the Mavericks cutting the Celtics’ lead to eight points in the third quarter. He said he was pleased with how his group handled the burst. “That’s going to happen. You’re not going to stop that. We just have to have the poise and toughness to work through it. I thought our guys did that.”












0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *