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Celtics Defend Home for 2-0 Finals Series Lead, Outlast Doncic, Mavericks, 103-98

By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Mon, 10 Jun 2024

For nearly two quarters, we seemed to have a tight Finals series in our hands as Dallas had Boston playing catch-up with its strong fast start.

But once the Celtics began to hum like a well-oiled machine, defeat became inevitable as Boston repeated over the Mavericks, 103-98 at the TD Garden Arena. The victory gave Boston a 2-0 Finals Series lead as well as preserving its homecourt advantage in the best of seven 2-2-1-1-1 format.

With Luka Doncic nearly unstoppable in scoring 23 points in the period backed up by his partner Kyrie Irving and more of their supporting crew, Dallas immediately broke into the lead for much of the first half.

Boston could not seem to get going as Jason Tatum was on his second straight off shooting night while his partner Jaylen Brown also was still finding his rhythm.

Normally it spells trouble for a team when its 1-2 punch is not operating at full capacity.

Not Boston.

Though it was too much of the asking to expect starting center Kristap Porzingis to have two consecutive breakout games, the Celtics still have much to throw at the Mavericks. And they came in the forms of Jrue Holiday, Derrick White and later even reserve Payton Pritchard who carried Boston with Tatum struggling and until Brown caught fire in the crucial stages of the match.

The Celtics' defenses likewise held on with Porzingis having his quota in shot blocks and White smothering a PJ Williamson dunk that could have cut Boston's lead to three in the dying minutes of the game. The Celts also pulled off crucial steals that upset the momentum of the Mavs.

Holiday brought back memories of his championship days with Giannis Antetokoumtpo and the Milwaukee Bucks when he swished triples, dished out assists apart from playing great defense as he anchored Boston in the second game victory.

Brown was also outstanding when he got into the groove by the second half. But who could forget Pritchard's long triple at the buzzer ending the third quarter that restored Boston's lead to nine 83-74 entering the final quarter.

As great as Doncic was in the first half that even went to the Celtics, 54-47, he eventually was slowed down in the next two quarters by Boston's defense as well as fatigue setting in. Irving and his other teammates tried hard to fight on but only managed to cut the Celtics lead to five.

Holiday led Boston with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Brown scored 21 points and 7 boards. Despite his shooting woes, Tatum still managed 18 points plus 9 rebounds. White also contributed 18 markers while Porzingis put up 12 points.

The loss spoiled Doncic's triple double of 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Washington had a more productive night with 17 points as Irving with 16 points. Daniel Galford and Derrick Jones Jr added 13 points and 11 points respectively.

Doncic had more scoring support this time yet the result was the same - a loss.

The series shifts to Dallas for games 3 and 4.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at and by phone 09215309477.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.

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