Celtics vs. Mavericks: Clash of the Titans in the 2024 NBA Finals

Star-studded Showdown between Boston’s Dynamic Duo and Dallas’ Dominant Backcourt
2024 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks
2024 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics vs. Dallas MavericksShutterstock

What’s at Stake?

The hardwood stage was set for a clash of titans. The Boston Celtics, a heritage franchise steeped in tradition, stood poised at a chance to add banner No.18 under its rafters to their storied history. On the other end, the Dallas Mavericks, led by the dynamic duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, aim to bring the city of Dallas its second NBA Championship for the first time since 2011. 

It’s a win-now situation for the Celtics, a chance for redemption after falling short in the Eastern Conference finals the previous season and losing to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA finals. For three seasons now, the Celtics have been knocking on the door and have fallen short of expectations every year, with the city of Boston still starving for a championship since 2008. Will the Celtics finally pull it off, or can the Mavericks pull off a Cinderella story, winning the championship after a magical run to get to the finals against all odds stacked against them?

Boston has been missing its all-star, Kristaps Porzingis, after suffering a calf injury on April 29. The 7’2 center should provide a significant boost in the NBA finals, especially against a Dallas team that has two seven-footers, Derrick Lively and Daniel Gafford, on the frontcourt protecting the rim all playoffs long, making it challenging for anyone to score under the basket. With a healthy Porzingis, the Celtics shouldn’t have trouble scoring, but without him, they lack size, giving Dallas the advantage in that arena. 

Watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals live Thursday, June 6, 2024
Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks will air on ABC on Thursday, June. 6, at TD Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET

How they got here

Boston easily coasted to the NBA finals after little to no competition in the Eastern Conference due to numerous injuries suffered by several all-stars. However, the Celtics' superstar duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown performed well despite the injuries the opposing team's best players suffered. Both franchise players showed up, which made it look easy, and sent a message to every team in the NBA that it would be tough to beat them. 

The Celtics won’t face easy opposition en route to their championship aspirations. The Mavericks have been counted out in almost all the series they’ve played in the Western Conference playoffs, but they silenced all the talk and showed up on the court. 

Despite facing a daunting path as the fifth seed in the loaded Western Conference, they defied all odds to propel themselves to the position that they are in now, thanks to the Ultimate scorer in Doncic and Irving's veteran savvy. From stunning upsets to nail-biting victories, they fought their way to the biggest stage in basketball, facing zero pressure and expectations because of all the noise surrounding Boston’s hopes to deliver the town a banner. 

Key Storylines

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd
Mavericks head coach Jason KiddShutterstock

As this finals preview was deemed likely to happen, anticipation gripped the basketball world. It’s more than just a battle for the Larry O’Brien Trophy; it was a clash of legacies, a collision of past and present. With narratives of former players facing their former teams, the stage is set for a revenge tour. 

The biggest storyline fans are excited to watch is Irving and Porzingis facing their former teams. Irving was with the Celtics from 2017-2019, while Porzingis played for the Mavericks from 2019 to 2022. Both players had their issues on the team. NBA fans claimed that Irving lacked team chemistry and developed frustration with his teammates, leaving the team for nothing, and the city has hated him ever since. 

Porzingis struggled to stay on the court for the Mavericks in the three-year tenure that he was with the team, always something that would get him injured, and every year, he had to play his way back to a healthy version of himself after devasting injuries. The questionable health of Porzingis led to the Mavericks trading him, and since then, the team has gotten better without him.

Additionally, there are stories to follow up on the coaching side of things. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, 35-years-old is the youngest coach to reach the NBA finals since Bill Russell won the title in 1969 for the Celtics as a player and coach. Mazzulla has a chance to win a championship as the youngest head coach in NBA history, which will help him, especially with all his talent on the team; it will be a failure if he can’t lead the team to a title again. 

Like Mazzulla, it will be the first time Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd wins a title. Kidd, 51, won a title as a player for the Mavericks in 2011 and as an assistant coach for the Lakers in 2020. Kidd has done a great job coaching this team in just three years, and with all the stakes against him, he has made the Mavericks relevant in over a decade.

The former champion led his team to the Western Conference finals in his first year as the coach. Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Mavericks improved their roster during the trade deadline and are now in a position to bring the city of Texas its second championship in over a decade. 

While Irving won a ring in 2016, Doncic, Tatum, and Brown are still searching for their first ring. It will be intriguing to see if Doncic can win his first ring with the Mavericks or if Tatum and Brown spoil the moment for the Slovenian and win their first ring. 

NBA Finals Schedule

Game 1: June 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC (in Boston)

Game 2: June 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC (in Boston)

Game 3: June 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC (in Dallas)

Game 4: June 14 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC (in Dallas)

Game 5 (if necessary): June 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC (in Boston)

Game 6 (if necessary): June 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC (in Dallas)

Game 7 (if necessary): June 23 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC (in Boston)

Vegas Odds

TD Garden
TD GardenShutterstock

The Celtics are favorites to win the series at -225, while the Mavericks are +180. The Celtics have the best record in the NBA and will have a homecourt advantage in the finals, but the Mavericks were underdogs in their last two series’ playing the first two games on the road and still won. 

Jayson Tatum is the Finals MVP favorite at -135. Luka Doncic is +190. Jaylen Brown is +550. 

Boston is a 6.5-point favorite in Game 1. 


The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks face off in the 2024 NBA Finals, with both teams hungry for a championship victory.

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