Mateo’s Hoop Diary: The Celtics outdid the Mavericks in Game 2 of the Finals

The Boston Celtics conquered the Mavericks in Game 2 of the Finals, taking a 2-0 lead. Dallas’ Luka Dončić was inexorable, and the visiting defense protected the arc. But Gang Green was overruling in the second half, and their supporters periodically chanted, “Kyrie [Irving] sucks.”

In act one, the Mavericks’ defense permitted one of nine trifectas. On offense, Dončić logged 13 digits, one assist and three turnovers. He picked on Jayson Tatum by dribbling past him to the rim and canning a turnaround jumper in his face. He also made a fader over Derrick White, swished a pull-up transition triple on the right side plus registered two freebies. His partner, Kyrie Irving, maneuvered into the square thrice and downed a long two inside the ring wing.

But Kristaps Porziņģis supplied eight points off the bench for the Celtics, backing down Maxi Kleber for a jumper, firing over Irving at mid-range, and nailing four freebies. Brown, Holiday and Horford helped him out, connecting on five of nine offerings, while Tatum was a playmaker.

The Mavericks led 28-25 through 12 minutes.

In act two, Holiday pounded the Mavericks’ interior defenses on and off the dribble. Brown got to the line, scored in transition and ripped up the baseline for a dunk.

On the Mavericks’ side, Dončić’s mid and long-range jumper produced four baskets. Derrick Jones Jr. provided seven points in the frame, cutting back door, beating the Celtics in transition and finishing the lob, set up by Dončić’ up top. The rest of the guests recorded three of 12 shots in the interval.

At halftime, the Celtics led 54-51, were up on the glass by two, and had two fewer turnovers while making 20% of hoisted 3-pointers. Furthermore, the group had 26 paint points, six on the break, two via second chances, 11 off turnovers and 12 from the bench.

The Mavericks had 26 interior marks, five in the open court, 10 on extra tries, 10 off turnovers and four from the reserves. The Mavericks missed six freebies in the first half.

In act three, Dončić lost the ball three times but tallied six points, firing from mid and long-range and setting up four teammates for six assists. Yet, Irving misfired on all three attempts because Tatum, White and Porziņģis contested his shot on time.

The hosts responded with efficient spurts from Tatum, Brown and Holiday, totaling eight of 14 baskets on drive-bys and one triple.

The fourth quarter started with the Celtics ahead 83-74.

The Celtics opened the period making seven of 15 shots. Yet in the last three-and-a-half minutes, the Mavericks sprayed nine unanswered points- Jones’ rim roll plus two freebies, Washington’s free throws and Dončić’s and-one around Horford- to cut the home lead to five points. But that was as far as they went.

In the last minute, Tatum dribbled to the cup but was rejected by Jones, with the rebound going to P.J. Washington, who took off on the break. Then White blocked Washington’s shot with 50 seconds left, two feet from the rim. Brown’s left-handed finish through the lane with Kleber on his back hip closed the curtains.

The Celtics won 105-98, snatched two more rebounds and committed five fewer turnovers. On top of that, the crew had 46 paint points, 15 on the break, 10 via second chances, 21 off turnovers and 17 from the bench.

Holiday had 26 points on eight of 14 looks, with 11 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. Brown totaled 21 points on 53% shooting, with four rebounds, seven assists, three steals and six turnovers. The other double-digit scorers were Tatum (18), White (18) and Porziņģis (12).

The Mavericks had 54 interior marks, seven in the open court, 13 on extra tries, 12 off turnovers and nine from the reserves. The Mavericks missed eight free throws in Game 2.

Dončić logged 32 points, making 57.1% of attempts, with 11 rebounds, 11 assists, four steals and eight turnovers. Washington had 17 marks on six of 13 shots, with seven rebounds, one assist, one block and a turnover. The other double-digit scorers were Irving (16), Gafford (13) and Jones (11).

At the postgame presser, Brown spoke on Holiday’s impact. He said, “Jrue [Holiday] has been an example of excellence…He’s just a hell of a player, hell of a person, great teammate, and I credit the victory to him tonight.”

Holiday said, “I’m a utility guy. I’ll do whatever.”

On the losing side, Dončić said his turnovers and missed free throws (4) cost the Mavericks the game.

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