June 22, 2024

2024 NBA Finals – The biggest questions from Game 2 of this Celtics-Mavericks

The Boston Celtics took a 2-0 lead over the Dallas Mavericks after an thrilling again-and-forth Game 2 in Boston, and now historical past is on their aspect. Teams main 2-0 within the Finals are 31-5 all-time, and the Celtics have a 43-1 sequence file when main a finest-of-7 2-0 (their solely loss was within the 2018 East finals).

Now the Mavericks will head to American Airlines Center for Games 3 and 4, the place they’re 5-3 to date throughout these playoffs.

After a sluggish begin within the sequence opener, the Mavericks got here out firing in Game 2, taking a 13-6 lead within the first quarter, their largest lead of the evening earlier than Boston took the lead within the second quarter.

Luka Doncic completed with 32 factors, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, marking his seventh triple-double this postseason — he is now tied for the second most in NBA playoff historical past. But his eight turnovers marred Dallas’ efforts to tie the sequence because the Mavericks will look to bounce again Wednesday in Game 3 (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

Can Dallas make this a sequence? What had been some of the biggest changes in Game 2? Our NBA insiders reply the biggest questions popping out of Game 2.

What was the biggest adjustment both workforce made from Game 1 to Game 2?

Dave McMenamin: Boston stored the ball in Jayson Tatum’s fingers and he remained a prepared passer, even when his shot wasn’t falling — going 6-for-22 after a 6-for-16 line in Game 1. It’s simply that his teammates made extra photographs. After 5 assists Thursday, Tatum had 12 on Sunday — his excessive for this postseason. He picked aside the Mavs’ on-ball stress by discovering cutters (Jrue Holiday was a favourite goal — going 10-for-13 with solely three 3-level makes an attempt) and spraying it out for 3 to maintain Dallas trustworthy from packing the paint (the Celtics hit simply 10 3s after 16 in Game 1, however it did not damage them as a result of of their general steadiness).

Brian Windhorst: The biggest adjustment was the Celtics buying and selling for Kristaps Porzingis and Holiday final offseason. There wasn’t a big distinction between the video games. Boston actually hasn’t shot nicely because the first quarter of Game 1 and was poor once more Sunday, however it’s only a spectacularly nicely-rounded workforce. Those two enormous additions have widened the Celtics’ margin for error immensely. Porzingis’ well being going ahead within the sequence clearly is a key issue.

Marc Spears: Doncic was rather more aggressive from the start and completed with 23 factors at half. Perhaps it was the knee that stymied him in Game 1, however the pregame announcement that he was questionable signifies he is not feeling higher. Still, Doncic hit quite a bit of robust one-legged photographs, however it’s evident Doncic cannot do this on his personal and wishes assist from Kyrie Irving and others to maintain tempo with the Celtics offensively. Should Tim Hardaway Jr., be dusted off?

Which participant’s efficiency has been essentially the most stunning (or disappointing) to date?

McMenamin: Dereck Lively II was so impactful on the Mavs’ run to the Finals that the worth of his presence turned much more pronounced when he missed Game 4 of the Western Conference finals with a neck pressure and the Minnesota Timberwolves registered their one win of the sequence. His influence to date this sequence has been neutralized — scoring simply 4 factors by the primary two video games — and there have been occasions he regarded just like the rookie that he’s Sunday, like when he wildly saved a ball from going out of bounds solely to ignite a Celtics fastbreak, and getting caught in no-man’s land on protection on too many possessions.

Windhorst: Irving. He’s been thrown off his nice rhythm, partially as a result of the Celtics’ combo of sturdy guards and size on the rim have closed his taking pictures home windows. But he is additionally bowed a bit to the Celtics crowd. He needled them after Game 1, saying they weren’t as loud as he anticipated, and he received caught going backwards and forwards with followers just a few occasions in Game 2. He appears like he is a tad in his personal head.

Spears: Holiday’s offensive explosion in Game 2 was an enormous shock. I did not envision him being the main scorer for the Celtics in any Finals video games. It’s only a reminder that the defensive guru is an elite participant on each ends and that the Celtics have myriad weapons offensively. Scary thought for the Mavs’ protection.



Jrue Holiday credit his massive sport to Jayson Tatum

Jrue Holiday says his scoring outburst in Game 2 was attributable to Jayson Tatum’s capability to go him the ball in the appropriate spots.

This sequence is headed for a sweep if___?

McMenamin: The Mavs’ taking pictures does not swing again towards the imply at residence. Dallas shot simply 13-for-53 from 3 (24.5%) in Games 1 and 2 in Boston — this after averaging 12.3 made 3s per sport for the postseason coming into Sunday. The Mavericks’ protection is doing an admirable job conserving a traditionally environment friendly Celtics offense in examine. But if their offense does not begin holding up its finish, this shall be a fast sequence.

Windhorst: The Mavericks are having quite a bit of bother creating good photographs, and it is killing their offense. The Celtics are doing a wonderful job coping with Irving and Doncic straight up — a large luxurious that simply squeezes the life out of Dallas’ offense. The Mavs received just a few extra appears on the rim within the third quarter, when Daniel Gafford received going within the choose-and-roll, however they have to determine just a few extra units that can apply any stress to Boston.

Spears: Sweep? Dallas is simply too proficient and goes residence for 2 video games. The sequence does not begin till a workforce loses at residence and Boston often loses focus in a single sport each sequence. I’m entertaining the likelihood, however there must be some struggle from Dallas … proper?