2024 NBA Finals: Celtics dominate Mavericks in Game 1 win as Kristaps Porziņģis shines in response

The Boston Celtics made a statement early in the NBA Finals behind a big return from Kristaps Porziņģis.

The Celtics rallied from a nearly 29-point first-half lead to beat the Dallas Mavericks 107-89 on Thursday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden. The Celtics have now won eight straight games, and they’ve won every Game 1 they’ve played this season.

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

Porsches missed Boston’s last 10 games with a calf injury suffered in the opening-round series against the Miami Heat.

But after coming off the bench for the second time in his career, he immediately made up for lost time. Porsches scored eight points early in the first quarter, including a big early dunk after a bucket passed in the face by Derek Lively II and Josh Green. That put the Celtics up by double digits and forced a Mavericks timeout in the first period.

Then he came out of a timeout, drilled a very deep 3-pointer, and immediately got a block on the other end to set up another 3-pointer for the Celtics. Just like that, after a 23-5 run, the Celtics were up by 17 points. It marked the largest lead in a Game 1 after the first quarter in NBA Finals history.

Porziņģis and the Celtics kept it going in the second quarter and easily took a 21-point lead into the locker room at halftime. They started the second quarter on a 21-11 run, briefly took a 29-point lead and made 11 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes. Porziņģis had 18 points and shot 7-of-9 from the field in the first half. The Mavericks, on the other hand, went just 3-for-13 from the 3-point line.

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

However, it was as close as Dallas got. Boston immediately rallied from a timeout and ended the period on a 14-2 burst. This gave the Celtics a 20-point lead again and was enough to push them to an 18-point victory in the end.

Porcisis finished with 20 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. Jaylen Brown led the way with 22 points on 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 with seven different players making multiple shots from behind the arc.

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Donczyk led the Mavericks with 30 points and 10 rebounds. He shot just 4-for-12 from behind the arc and accounted 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 their fewest in the postseason. They had just nine assists as a unit. The Celtics, by comparison, had 23 assists and nine blocks.

While it’s still early days — Doncic and Irving are more than capable of keeping the Mavericks in it — the Celtics are poised to secure their 18th championship in franchise history. Game 2 on Sunday is by no means a must-win for Dallas, but the Mavericks should at least keep it close before the series heads to Texas. Otherwise, things can quickly get out of hand.

live40 updates

  • Sunday night game 2 sets

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

    While Dallas doesn’t need to win either way, a second win at this point could mean we’re on a quick streak this summer.

  • Final: Celtics 107, Mavericks 89

    Although things got close for a while in the second half, the Celtics took a 1-0 series lead over the Mavericks. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 22 points.

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

  • The Celtics had a record, sharing the wealth from the 3-point line

  • It was the Celtics all night

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

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

  • Celtics score 3 more

    Luka is still just 1-for-11 against the Mavericks from distance, and Doncic has missed his last four attempts from outside. The Celtics were 5-of-23 as a team from beyond the arc. The Celtics, 15-of-40 from deep, had nearly made up the Mavericks’ misses (18) with eight minutes remaining.

  • Bad signs for Dallas

    Make it a 14-0 run. Dallas struggles to generate offense with Luka on the bench, and Kyrie can’t find windows in the paint or connect from deep. Dallas’ two proudest guards have combined for three assists.

  • Kyrie Irving is struggling

    Kyrie Irving’s ineffectiveness really stood out as the Celtics rebuilt this lead into a 20-plus-point advantage. He was spooked by Porzingis on a run and took a step back. Just 6-of-19 and 0-5 from 3 through three quarters with 3 turnovers.

  • The Celtics step it up on D

    Boston’s defense stifles an 11-0 run to extend the lead to 19. Jaylen Brown with big blocks. Zuru Holiday moved to Danzig before this latest break for him in the last minute of the 3Q.

  • Jaylen Brown Black Party

    The Celtics star has been outstanding on the defensive end of the floor in Game 1.

  • Luca needs help

    Non-Luca 3s: 1 of 10. That’s not optimal production for the Mavs, especially when the Celtics don’t mind you taking 3s.

  • The Celtics regain control

    After Luka Doncic’s runaway 3-pointer cut Boston’s 29-point lead to 72-64 midway through the third quarter, Boston responded with an 8-0 run — aided by some easy fouls from Derek Lively II — and a Jayson Tatum 3. mouse Tatum is 13-8-5, and the Celtics look to finish third best last quarter.

  • Mavs cut lead to single digits

    Well, well, well… the game isn’t over yet. A Luka Doncic 3 with 4:39 left in the third quarter cut the Celtics’ lead to eight points, 72-64. Donczyk got the Mavs back into it as he scored 27 points in the game and 10 in the quarter. Dallas is having trouble moving the ball on the offensive end — just five assists on 27 made baskets, Kyrie Irving is 6-of-16 from the floor while Kyrie Irving struggles with 12 points from the field while Doncic joins them.

  • The Mavs make it a game

    As Luka Doncic comes out burning from the depths, the building has grown increasingly quiet and angry. Dallas cut it to 8 with less than 8 minutes to go, and 10 points came from the Mavericks All-NBA superstar.

  • Dallas shows some life early in the second half

    After trailing by 29 in the first half, the Mavericks started the second half with some purpose, cutting a 21-point lead to 16 at halftime with 7:42 left in the third quarter. Two Kyrie Irving baskets and two Celtics turnovers helped steady the ship for the Mavs, who needed to go on a run to get back in the game heading into the 4th quarter.

  • Luca goes

    Luca hunted his own shot with more bounce in his legs and aggression to finish with 17 points in the final minutes of the first half. Can it be carried? This is the team that overcame an 18-point third quarter deficit in Game 6 against OKC.

  • Kristaps Porzingis led the way with 18 points

    How to recover from an injury? Eighteen points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor — including two 3s — to go with 2 blocks and 3 rebounds. Not bad to return to action after missing a calf press for over a month.

  • 3 point difference

    That’s how the Celtics are designed, and 3-point shooting is their bread and butter, but a 24-point difference from distance (10-of-24 to Dallas’ 2-of-12) was a big part of Boston’s 27-point lead. Now on the edge.

  • Jaylen Brown is from UP

    Welcome to your Kodak moment, Daniel Gafford.

  • Boston is rolling

    The Celtics now have more Mavs. Luca couldn’t get the ball up. It looks like a blast. Too many turnovers and a 29 point lead for Boston.

  • Porzingis is by far the most

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

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