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Celtics Steal Game 2 of NBA Finals Despite Doncic Triple-Double

The Celtics Walk out of TD Garden just 2 wins away from championship number 18 following a 105-98 victory over the Mavericks in Game 2.

Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday (26 PTS) led the team in scoring, but the diverse talent of Boston’s playoff rotation was on full display today, as they managed to walk away with the victory despite Jayson Tatum shooting just 6-22 from the field and as a team collectively shooting 25.6% from 3-point territory.


Despite Tatum’s shooting struggles, he showed absolute class in this game, finishing with 12 assists and 9 boards to go along with his 18 points. The 12 assists were just one short of his playoff career-high, which he had in Game 1 of the ‘22 Finals and was key to keeping Boston in the game throughout the first half in particular. Though he struggled to hit shots, Dallas continued to help off other guys to trap and double-team Tatum in the post, where he consistently found 3-point shooters and cutters for open baskets, including assisting on 13 of Holiday’s 26 points, a credit to both Holiday’s positioning and cutting and Tatum’s vision.


Derrick White was huge for Boston in the fourth quarter, hitting a couple of timely 3-pointers as well as the block being heard all around the Social Media world right now on PJ Washington. Jaylen Brown was also good again for Boston, finishing with 21 points on 8/15 from the field, but did have 6 turnovers in this one, much to do with the pressure defense from bench players Josh Green and Dante Exum.


 

Dallas shouldn’t be too worried as of right now, while this game was right within their grasp, it was always going to be very difficult to take one of the first two at TD Garden, but now they get to go back home for Games 3 and 4 and hope they can find a winning formula. That being said, it was really a one-man army out there for the Mavericks, as Doncic did all he could with his right knee sprain and ankle soreness, finishing with another 30-point triple-double, as Mavericks fans have grown so accustomed to seeing out of him. As was the issue in Game 1, Dallas struggled mightily from the outside in this one, finishing the game (excluding Doncic) just 2-17 from downtown.


Effectively, the Mavericks just don’t have the talent level on their roster to match Boston, outside of Doncic and Kyrie Irving, who again couldn’t find his offensive game tonight, Jason Kidd and company will be hoping he can find his groove very soon, as in an iso-heavy series, the Mavs need Kyrie to be at his bucket-getting best if they want a chance in this matchup.


Kidd tried a few different lineups in this game, including extended periods with Maxi Kleber at the 5, in hopes of stretching out the floor, an effort that worked out well despite Kleber not getting on the board, as he finished with a positive +/-, as rookie Dereck Lively finished a -15 in his 19 minutes of action. Kidd and his coaching staff will have to decide whether having a rim protector or a floor spacer works out better overall, but this game should definitely give them an idea of that.


If their shooters can start hitting their threes consistently, there's certainly reason to believe Dallas has plenty of hope in these NBA finals yet, it was only 3 years ago that the Milwaukee Bucks came back from down 0-2 to win the series against Phoenix in 6, and with players like Luka and Kyrie on the court, they’re a hard team to count out, though Boston certainly will be feeling confident after getting this win despite their less than impressive shooting performance.


Game 3 at American Airlines Center on Wednesday should be a packed out, and very loud stadium in Dallas, looking to keep the series alive.


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