Boston Celtics Overpower Dallas Mavericks In Finals Opener

Image Source: Boston Celtics/ Shutterstock
Image Source: Boston Celtics/ Shutterstock

In the first clash of the 2024 NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics took a commanding victory with a 107-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks, marking the latter’s lowest-scoring performance in the postseason. Celtics guard Jrue Holiday emphasized the importance of multiple defenders contributing to the containment of Mavericks star Luka Doncic, highlighting it as a collective defensive measure.

“There are benefits to having different people step up to defend,” Holiday remarked. “Each player brings their own defensive style—some are more aggressive, others less so. But I believe that all of our players, including those who are often underestimated, are fully capable of playing solid defense. We’re hoping this presents a solid challenge for him and that we can maintain this defensive intensity.”

Holiday was not making a reference to Celtics player Derrick “White,” but acknowledging the defensive efforts of teammates like Payton Pritchard and Sam Houser.

Boston’s defense has certainly been formidable this season, conceding the third fewest points (107.9) on the third-lowest opponent shooting average (45.5%), including not just the regular season but also the playoffs.

Quite remarkably, in the previous game’s win, the Celtics managed the same number of blocked shots as the Mavericks did assists.

On the Mavericks side, Kyrie Irving posted 12 points and 2 assists, while Luka Doncic, who holds the second-highest assists average in the league (9.8), was held to just a single assist alongside his 30 points during Game 1.

Despite the acknowledgment he gave to his teammates, Holiday, known for his defensive prowess, will continue to play a crucial role in the Celtics’ efforts to keep a tight leash on Doncic throughout the series.

NBA legend Larry Bird once expressed his disdain for being defended by players he felt did not match his skill level, saying, “The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was that I felt slighted if they put a less skilled defender on me. I took it as a sign of disrespect to my abilities.”

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