Celtics Secure Game 1 Victory Over Mavericks: Porzingis Returns with a Bang

Despite Luka Doncic’s stellar offensive game, Boston overcomes Dallas with solid performances from Jaylen Brown and Porzingis
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Kristaps Porzingis lifts Boston in return

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics clinched a crucial victory at home in Game 1 of the NBA Finals behind its electrifying crowd, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 107-89. Kristaps Porzingis contributed to a strong team effort after being out of the lineup since April 29, scoring 20 points off the bench in 20 minutes. While Jaylen Brown led the team with 21 points, despite Jayson Tatum scoring only 16 points, the Celtics pulled ahead with a balanced team effort. 

Porzingis, playing his first game after injuring his calf against the Heat in Game 2 of the first round, provided a massive offensive and defensive spark for the Celtics. His presence on both ends of the court bolstered Boston’s defense and added depth to their offensive arsenal. He finished with three blocks, keeping the Mavericks away from the paint. Not only was Porzingis’ defense elite, but the entire defense for the Celtics showed up, holding Dallas to just 89 points, the fewest they’ve scored in the playoffs. The Celtics bench outscored the Mavericks 32-20, showcasing the depth of this team and what they’re capable of when firing on all cylinders. 

The Celtics continued to dominate the game, with Porzingis leading the charge. He nailed a deep three-pointer after a timeout, a move that set the tone for the Celtics' offensive run. This was followed by one of his three blocks, a defensive move that showcased his versatility and impact on the game. This sequence fueled a 23-5 run, propelling the Celtics to a 17-point lead, the largest ever in the first quarter in Game 1 of an NBA Finals in history. 

Celtics Continued its Avalanche

Kristaps Porzingis
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The avalanche raining down on the Mavericks continued in the second quarter. Boston extended its lead to 21 points by midway in the second quarter. They went on a 21-11 run, achieving a commanding 29-point lead with four minutes left until halftime. The run was largely achieved with 11 three-pointers rained by Boston from downtown in the first half alone. 

Porzinigis was particularly effective in the first half compared to the second, scoring 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, he only scored two points in the second half, which didn’t change the game's outcome. As Boston was hot from three-point land, Dallas was cold, hitting only 3-of-13 three-pointers and finishing shooting 7-of-27 to end the game. 

Porzingis spoke after the game about whether he is 100 percent healthy. 

“Tonight was an affirmation to myself that I’m good,” Porzingis said postgame. “Maybe I’m not perfect, but I’m pretty good.”

Kristaps Porzingis

Celtics Halt Mavericks' run

Jaylen Brown
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Despite facing a significant early deficit in the first half, Dallas began to chip away at Boston’s lead in the third quarter. Key baskets from PJ Washington and clutch three-pointers from Luka Doncic capped a 20-6 run, reducing the gap to eight points. 

However, that was the closest the Mavericks would get in the second half, as Boston quickly responded with a 14-0 run to end the third quarter, restoring their 20-point advantage. Boston’s defense was pivotal in its runs, with Al Horford and Jrue Holiday limiting Dallas’ scoring opportunities. The Celtics held the Mavericks to 41% shooting from the field and 26% from three, while Boston shot 48%. 

Doncic held his head high up despite the lopsided loss and said the loss will not diminish the team's spirit. 

“Either you lose or win,” Doncic said. “First to four, we’ve got to focus on the next game.”

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic stood out for the Mavericks. Despite the Celtics pressuring him every time he passed the halfcourt, the five-time all-star still finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. But, his running mate Kyrie Irving couldn’t compensate to keep them in the game. Irving, visibly affected by Boston’s hostile crowd, finished with just 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting and seven turnovers combined with Doncic. Irving and Dallas’ other players, not Doncic, will need to step up their game, or we could be in a quick series this summer. 

The two teams will run it back on Sunday night in Boston. The Mavericks will look to even up the series 1-1 to avoid going down 0-2. As the series progresses, both teams must make adjustments and changes. Game 2 should be a much better game for Dallas if they want to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. 

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