Boston Celtics take down Dallas Mavericks 107-89 in NBA Finals Game 1: Highlights (2024)

Table of Contents
What went wrong for Dallas Celtics take Game 1 Irving struggles in Game 1 Doncic, Irving exit game All but over Celtics daring Doncic and Irving to beat them Celtics up big entering fourth quarter Boston ends third quarter on 14-2 run Lively picks up fifth foul Celtics settle down, back in control How the Mavs got back into it Luka keeping Mavs in this TD Garden gone quiet Mavericks getting closer Mavs cutting into huge lead No lead is safe in the NBA Doris Burke makes history Boston proving doubters wrong so far Mavs facing steep odds to get back into game Dallas offense stagnant in first half Doncic the only one stepping up for Mavs TD Garden full of celebrities Everything going right for Celtics in first half Brown dominant early Boston holds major advantage on bench Porzingis been key for Boston Why Boston is up big early Dallas can't hit from deep right now Celtics close first quarter on huge run Boston on fire from 3-point range Porzingis changed the game Tatum finally on the board KP having an early impact for Celtics Mavs ahead early Al Horford scores first points of game Game 1 about to tip off. NBA goes worldwide Jayson Tatum ready to go Best offensive backcourt in NBA history? Porzingis ready for Game 1 Big payday coming for Doncic LeBron excited for his former teammate Irving Celtics fans heading into arena Irving 'built for these moments' Pressure is on the Celtics Irving’s contentious history with Boston Porzingis is back for Game 1 Mavs a different team since trade deadline LeBron James calls Kyrie Irving 'the ultimate wild card' X factor for Boston will be... How many titles do the Celtics and Mavericks have? Jason Kidd on verge of history Who were the last 5 NBA champions? Celtics boast a historically great offense References

What went wrong for Dallas

Amit Badlani

The Mavericks can point to three major factors that contributed to their Game 1 loss to the Celtics:

  • Kyrie Irving struggled mightily from the field, shooting 6-for-19 with only 12 points.
  • The Mavs’ ball movement was stagnant. Of their 35 field goals, only nine came off assists. While Luka Doncic was able to drop 30 points, he only had one of those assists.
  • The Mavericks struggled from deep, making only 7 of their 27 attempts. Players not named Luka Doncic went 3-for-15 from beyond the arc, including Kyrie Irving who went 0-for-5.

Celtics take Game 1

Greg Rosenstein

Boston cruised to an easy victory at home to take Game 1. In NBA history, 70% of the Game 1 winners went on to win the title.

Irving struggles in Game 1

Greg Rosenstein

Kyrie Irving did not have a good first game of the NBA Finals Game 1. He finished 6-for-19 shooting with only 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

Dallas will not come close to winning this series if he doesn't step up his production.

Doncic, Irving exit game

Amit Badlani

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving exit the game with 5:15 remaining. Jason Kidd and the Mavericks appear to be looking ahead to Game 2 with the Celtics up by 25 points with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter.

All but over

Aaron Schwarz

This one is all but over. After the Mavs cut the lead down to eight points, it’s now a 25-point mountain. Expect to see the end of the bench players to get their first taste of the 2024 NBA Finals.

Celtics will coast to a Game 1 win in Boston.

Celtics daring Doncic and Irving to beat them

Kurt Helin

What the Celtics have done well in Game 1 is force Doncic and Irving to become scorers — both are elite bucket getters, but what unlocks the Mavericks offense is when their drives and plays turn into corner 3s and lobs to role players.

The Celtics have stayed home on the role guys and dared Doncic and Irving to beat them on their own — and Irving is having a rough night (much to the delight of the Garden crowd, which has broken into multiple “Kurie sucks” chants). Irving is 6-of-19 shooting for 12 points at the start of the fourth.

Celtics up big entering fourth quarter

Brian Hamilton, NBC Sports

Dallas at one time pulled to within 8, but Jaylen Brown’s defense was superb as the Celtics reasserted themselves.

Boston ends third quarter on 14-2 run

Greg Rosenstein

The Celtics didn't have the best start to the third quarter but they finished strong. Thanks to some huge plays by Jaylen Brown on both ends, Boston finished on a 14-2 run.

Celtics are up 86-66 through 3.

Lively picks up fifth foul

Amit Badlani

Derrick Lively II earned his fifth foul of the night with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter. The Mavericks will surely miss his presence in the paint as he’ll have to sit for a while.

Even when he is able to sub back in, the Mavs may struggle with defending Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis in the final quarter as Lively will be limited in playing physical defense with the risk of fouling out.

Celtics settle down, back in control

Joshua Kinberg

After the Mavs cut the lead to 8 points, Boston comes back with some scrappy play to push the lead back up to 16 with 1:35 left in the third quarter.

How the Mavs got back into it

Kurt Helin

Doncic seemed to spend the first half of the game processing what Boston was doing defensively. He figured it out. In the second half, he came out knowing exactly how he wanted to attack each switch from the Celtics. Same with Irving. And while there was a special Doncic step-back 3, most of the buckets came in the paint with the Mavericks being more deliberate to get downhill and at the rim as the Mavericks cut the Boston’s lead, which was once 29, down to single digits.

Luka keeping Mavs in this

Brian Hamilton, NBC Sports

The Mavs are back in it thanks in large part to their leader, Doncic.

TD Garden gone quiet

Joshua Kinberg

Boston Garden was pretty quiet after Luka’s 3-pointer cutting the lead to only eight points. There’s still a lot of game left to play. Both teams are excellent fourth quarter finishers.

Mavericks getting closer

Joshua Kinberg

Luka just hit a 3 cutting Boston’s lead to 13. Mavs are sneaking back into it.

No lead is safe in the NBA

Joshua Kinberg

Even down by 20 points, no lead is safe in the NBA. The Mavs have to look to cut it to 12 or less by the end of the third quarter. Dallas has a chance to come back if they can get stops and make 3-pointers.

Doris Burke makes history

Greg Rosenstein

Doris Burke became the first woman to serve as a game analyst on TV for a championship finalin one of the four major professional U.S. sports leagues tonight.

“My focus is in preparing for the games in front of me. … But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I am sort of mindful that there is something meaningful here, right,” she said on ABC this week. “And the meaning for me would be if, in some way, this assignment makes life for women in sports easier or somehow aids in their process, then nothing could be more meaningful.

“Anybody calling their first NBA Finals game would probably be nervous, and I think if I allow my mind to drift too much into that space, it will make that nervousness a little bit worse.”

Boston proving doubters wrong so far

Kurt Helin

One of the storylines coming into this series was “are the Celtics paper tigers?” The question was never the level of talent on the roster, as this was the best starting five in the league and they won 64 games. But Boston was able to coast through the tape, then were never really tested in the playoffs as every team they faced battled debilitating injuries.

Was Boston really sharp enough for the stage? Especially against a Dallas team that had to be razor sharp to get out of the West.

That question was answered in the first 24 minutes — Boston scored 63 points on 54.5% shooting and were 11-of-27 from 3. Their passing, rotation and energy were elite. Nobody better personified this than Kristaps Porzingis, who had been out with a strained calf since the first round and scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting in his return. Boston was up 21 at the half and in total control.

Mavs facing steep odds to get back into game

Amit Badlani

The Mavericks face a 21-point deficit at halftime.The largest halftime comeback in NBA Finals history is 21 points. In 1948, Baltimore trailed Philadelphia 20-41, and won Game 2, 66-63.

Dallas offense stagnant in first half

Aaron Schwarz

The Mavs, who averaged 59.7 points in the first half this season, managed just 42 tonight in Game 1. Celtics lead 63-42 after the first 24 minutes.

Doncic the only one stepping up for Mavs

Joshua Kinberg

Luka has 17 points for the Mavs, but he looks like he’s doing it mostly his own. Very little ball movement for the Mavs.

TD Garden full of celebrities

Kurt Helin

Boston brought out the stars for Game 1, some of the celebrities at the game include:

• Pep Guardiola (Manchester City manager, he attended Celtics practice this week)

• Bruins legend Zdeno Chara (who got a massive ovation)

• Mark and Donnie Wahlberg

• Geno Auriemma (UConn women’s basketball coach)

• Dana White (UFC President)

• Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles) and his teammates AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith

• Maxx Crosby (Las Vegas Raiders)

• Four Patriots players: Matthew Judon (linebacker), Jonathan Jones (cornerback), Anfernee Jennings (linebacker), Keion White (defensive end)

• Jenny McCarthy (actor)

Everything going right for Celtics in first half

Joshua Kinberg

Boston is dominating this game so far. Celtics lead 58-33. Boston has a 10-2 advantage in three-pointers made, and 24-12 advantage in rebounds.

Brown dominant early

Brian Hamilton, NBC Sports

Jaylen Brown goes up for the huge dunk.

Boston holds major advantage on bench

Aaron Schwarz

Celtics lead bench scoring 21-2, largely due to Kristaps Porzingis, who has 15 himself. It's 48-27 Boston halfway through the second quarter.

Porzingis been key for Boston

Joshua Kinberg

KP leads all scorers with 15 points. His size advantage in 1-on-1 matchup and long range shooting skills are on display.

48-27 with six minutes left in the first half.

Why Boston is up big early

Kurt Helin

Early in the game the Mavericks' defensive strategy was what had worked to get them to this point — keep a big in the paint to protect the rim, rotate him out late to contest 3s if you have to, but surrender some of those shots to limit scoring inside. That had mixed results, especially once the 3s started to fall for Boston and their lead started to grow as they found mismatches they liked.

Dallas’ bigs started inching out earlier, but that has led to a series of buckets at the rim with Pozingis, Tatum and others getting to the rim for dunks. Boston’s five-out spacing was always going to be a challenge for how Dallas wants to defend.

Dallas can't hit from deep right now

Joshua Kinberg

Boston is 8-for-18 shooting (44%) from 3-point range so far. Dallas, meanwhile, is just 2-for-9 shooting from deep through the midway point of the second quarter.

Celtics close first quarter on huge run

Amit Badlani

The Celtics went on a 15-2 run in the last 5:11 of the first quarter to take a 37-20 lead over the Mavericks. Entering off the bench after missing the last 10 games, Kristaps Porzingis notched 11 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Boston on fire from 3-point range

Celtics go on a 3-point shooting assault to end the first quarter, hitting almost 50% over that time.

Celtics up 37-20 after the first.

Porzingis changed the game

Kurt Helin

When he entered off the bench with 7:17 left in the first quarter and the Celtics up one point, he instantly changed the floor spacing and he was hitting shots — he started 3-of-4, hit two free throws, and most importantly threw off the Dallas matchups that had worked pretty well up to that point. Five minutes later, the Celtics were up 28-18 and Jason Kidd was forced to call a timeout.

Out of the timeout, Porzingis continued to dominate, finishing the first quarter with 11 points and 3 blocks.

Tatum finally on the board

Greg Rosenstein

Jayson Tatum has been a major factor for Boston early with passing and defense but he's finally on the board with a stepback 3 at the 1:33 mark left in the first quarter.

KP having an early impact for Celtics

Aaron Schwarz

Porzingis into the game for his first action against his old team. The big man from Latvia showing his value early, grabbing a couple early defensive rebounds and scoring 8 off the bench.

The Celtics lead the Mavericks 28-18 with 2 minutes left in the first quarter.

Mavs ahead early

Greg Rosenstein

The Mavericks lead 13-12 at the first TV timeout. Kyrie Irving is 2-for-3 with four points to lead Dallas.

Jrue Holiday leads all scorers with 5 early on for Boston. 6:55 remaining in the first quarter.

Al Horford scores first points of game

Greg Rosenstein

The veteran big man, who entered the league before the IPhone was released, got Boston on the board early.

Game 1 about to tip off.

Greg Rosenstein

We are moments away from Mavericks at Celtics. The national anthem is being sung as we speak.

NBA goes worldwide

Kurt Helin

One note on how international the NBA has become: There are 13 international players on the two rosters in the NBA Finals, the most ever for the league. That includes Dallas star Luka Doncic and Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis, both of which will have a huge impact on this series.

Jayson Tatum ready to go

Brian Hamilton, NBC Sports

Boston’s Tatum looks relaxed and ready for Game 1.

Best offensive backcourt in NBA history?

Greg Rosenstein

Kyrie Irving averaged 25.6 points, 5.2 assists and 5 rebounds per game for the Mavericks (50-42) during the regular season, but he has stepped up his production in the playoffs. In the Western Conference Finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he poured in 27 points a night on 49 percent shooting from the field. This includes a 36-point performance on 14-of-27 shooting in Game 5 that sent Dallas to the NBA Finals.

Since entering the league in 2018, Luka Doncic has been utterly dominant offensively. The 25-year-old led the NBA in scoring (33.9 points per game this season) and was second in assists (9.8). Like Irving, Doncic has continued his tear in the postseason. He sliced through Minnesota in the Western Conference Finals with an array of moves and shooting from every spot on the floor, averaging 32.4 points a game in the series.

Former NBA coach and broadcaster Stan Van Gundy publicly called Irving and Doncic the “best offensive backcourt in the history of the NBA.”

He might just be right.

Porzingis ready for Game 1

Kurt Helin

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla confirmed that Kristaps Porzingis will play in Game 1 and added he would not be on a minutes limit, although he refused to confirm Porzingis will start.

It should be noted that for Boston’s practice on Wednesday, Porzingis was dressed in the green of starters.

Porzingis has been out since April 29 with a strained calf and it’s a big ask for him to go from 0 to 100 in the NBA Finals, and you can be sure Luka Doncic and the Mavericks will test him early.

Big payday coming for Doncic

Amit Badlani

After making the All-NBA team in the 2023 and 2024 seasons, Luka Doncic is eligible to sign an extension worth more than $346 million in the 2025 offseason, which would bethe largest contract in NBA history. The deal would start in 2026 and end in 2031.

LeBron excited for his former teammate Irving

Sahil Kapur

Ahead of Game 1, LeBron James reminisced about playing with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland years ago,saying on JJ Redick’s podcastthat he’s “so f---ing happy and so proud” to watch Irving grow and improve. James added: “I’m so f---ing mad, at the same time, that I am not his running mate anymore.”

He called Irving, with whom he won a championship in 2016, “the most gifted player the NBA has ever seen."

Celtics fans heading into arena

Brian Hamilton, NBC Sports

The masses are descending on TD Garden.Game tips in a bit under 1 hour.

Irving 'built for these moments'

Greg Rosenstein

Kyrie Irving, who spent two contentious seasons in Boston, says he's ready for whatever the Celtics fans throw at him in Game 1.

“I’m built for these moments, to be able to handle circ*mstances like that, and I’ve been able to grow since then,” he said. “So of course it’s going to be a hectic environment, but I’m looking forward to it and I see it as a healthy relationship that I have with the fans. I almost think about ‘Gladiator,’ just winning the crowd over. It is good to hear the TD Garden silent when you’re playing well. They still respect great basketball.”

Pressure is on the Celtics

Joshua Kinberg

They were predicted all year to dominate the Eastern Conference and return to the NBA Finals. They met all those expectations and breezed through the playoffs (facing teams hobbled by injury). Kristaps Porzingis returns for Boston in Game 1 after sitting throughout the playoffs with injury, but the Celtics haven’t missed a beat due to great contributions from Al Horford.

Despite the pressure of expectations, the Celtics have lived up to them this year, so it might not matter if they keep playing the way they have been.

Irving’s contentious history with Boston

Greg Rosenstein

The Mavericks’ 32-year-old point guard didn’t have the best time in a Celtics uniform, to say the least. In fact, he’s known as one of thebiggest villainsof Boston’s fan base. Irving played two seasons in Boston, from 2017-2019, averaging 24.1 points and 6.1 assists a game, and led the franchise to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018.

However the following season he struggled mightily in the 2019 playoffs, most notably in the Eastern Conference semifinals against Milwaukee. Irving shot a dreadful 37 for 104 from the field and 7 for 32 from 3-point range as the Celtics were eliminated in five games.

He wasn’t much better off the court.

Irving told fans at a season-ticket holder event ahead of the 2018-19 season that he planned on re-signing with the franchise. The next February, when asked if he was set to return to Boston, he famously said, “I don’t owe anybody s---.” After the season he left to join Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets.

Porzingis is back for Game 1

Greg Rosenstein

Kristaps Porzingis, who spent three seasons in Dallas, from 2019-2022, isexpected to return from a calf injuryjust in time to face his former team. The 7-foot Celtics center has not appeared in a game since April 29 in Boston’s opening-round series against the Miami Heat.

While Porzingis’ services haven’t truly been needed — the Celtics went 9-1 in his absence — he will add another dynamic piece to pair with Brown and Tatum. Porzingis is a great finisher around the rim and despite his size can hit shots from both midrange and beyond the arc.

He’s also expected to bolster Boston’s defense by blocking or altering shots. Porzingis swatted nearly two attempts a game this season.

“He does a great job of just making things difficult,” Celtics guard Derrick White said at practice this week. “It’s always nice to know that he’s back there, whether he blocks or he doesn’t block. He makes them think about it. That’s been really great having him on our side, just doing the things he did day in and day out. Once he comes back and gets in the flow, I think it’s going to be nice.”

Mavs a different team since trade deadline

Aaron Schwarz

The Dallas Mavericks, the Western Conference's No. 5 seed, head into the NBA Finals a totally different team since February when they traded for Washington's Daniel Gafford and Charlotte's P.J. Washington.

Before the deadline, the Mavericks were six games over .500. They closed the regular season with a 21-9 record, the third-best mark in the NBA. If you include the playoffs, Dallas is 34-14 since making the midseason deals.

The Mavericks are seeking their second franchise championship, and first since 2011.

LeBron James calls Kyrie Irving 'the ultimate wild card'

Greg Rosenstein

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, who along with Irving brought a championship back to Cleveland in 2016, said the guard is unlike any teammate he’s had in his career.

“To have a guy like Kyrie Irving as the ultimate wild card,” James said on his“Mind The Game” podcast this week. “That’s like having a ‘draw four’ in your hand every time someone deals you cards in Uno.”

X factor for Boston will be...

Greg Rosenstein

Jrue Holiday, a veteran acquired last offseason in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. Boston gave up a lot to get him — Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams and two first-round picks — but he’s been worth it. Holiday, who won an NBA title with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, is averaging 12.7 points and 4.6 assists in the playoffs while playing his typical lockdown defense. How Holiday guards Irving could be the difference in whether the Celtics claim the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

How many titles do the Celtics and Mavericks have?

Greg Rosenstein

The Boston Celtics are tied for first all-time in NBA championships with 17. NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell himself claimed 11 between 1957 and 1969.

The Mavericks have only one title: 2011 when Dirk Nowitzki and (now coach) Jason Kidd led Dallas to a 4-2 series win over the Miami Heat.

Jason Kidd on verge of history

Joshua Kinberg

When the NBA finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics tip off on Thursday night, Mavericks head coach, Jason Kidd, has a chance to join an elite club of NBA champions who have won as both player and head coach. What’s even more incredible is that Kidd might achieve this with the same team.

In 2011, Jason Kidd was the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks during their championship run. Thirteen years later in 2024, Kidd is leading his team from the sidelines as head coach and hopes to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Dallas.

According toNBA.comonly 5 others have won championships as a player and head coach for the same team. That list includes some legendary names — Bill Russell (Celtics), Tom Heinsohn (Celtics), KC Jones (Celtics), Pat Riley (Lakers) and Billy Cunningham (Sixers).

Jason Kidd is now four wins away from adding his name to this list.

Who were the last 5 NBA champions?

Greg Rosenstein

The 2023-24 season will be the sixth straight season without a repeat NBA Finals winning team.

  • 2022-23: Denver Nuggets (def. Miami Heat)
  • 2021-22: Golden State Warriors (def. Boston Celtics)
  • 2020-21: Milwaukee Bucks (def. Phoenix Suns)
  • 2019-20: Los Angeles Lakers (def. Miami Heat)
  • 2018-19: Toronto Raptors (def. Golden State Warriors)

Celtics boast a historically great offense

Greg Rosenstein

The Celtics' 123.2 offensive ratingis not only the best in the NBA this season, it's the best in NBA history. Even crazier is the next to teams — the Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder — also happened this season.

Tatum has been the catalyst all season for Boston, particularly in the postseason. He leads the team in points (26), rebounds (10.4) and assists (5.9) per game. Brown is just a notch behind him statistically with averages of 25 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists a contest. He earned Eastern Conference Finals MVP following Boston’s sweep of the Indiana Pacers after continually making big plays either as a scorer or facilitator.

Boston Celtics take down Dallas Mavericks 107-89 in NBA Finals Game 1: Highlights (2024)

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