Monday, June 10, 2024

Celtics 105, Mavericks 98: Jrue Holiday lead C's in Game 2 despite cold shooting night [BOS leads series, 2-0]

The Celtics protected home court advantage Sunday night at TD Garden with a 105-98 Game 2 victory over the Dallas Mavericks and take a 2-0 NBA Finals lead.

Jrue Holiday led the way in scoring with 26 points on 11-of-24 shooting from the field, 2-of-4 from three point land, and a whopping 7-of-7 from the restricted area. Holiday always knew where to be in this contest, whether it was a timely cut off a drive from Jayson Tatum, or positioning himself well in the dunker spot for a dump off pass.
"JT [Tatum] was getting into the paint, being double teamed, making the right plays out of it, and just finding me," Holiday said in his postgame presser. "Either being in the dunker or being in the corner, [Tatum] has that vision as a playmaker.”
Tatum, undeterred by a cold shooting game where he went 6-of-22 from the field for 18 points, controlled the game with his playmaking. Tatum was consistently blowing by his primary defender, getting into the paint, and then finding the open man for a bucket. Tatum's dominant floor game also led to a game-high 12 assists. 
"We're so close to what we're trying to accomplish. Why would I let my ego or my need to score all the points get in the way of that?" Tatum said in his postgame comments reference to Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd's comment on Jaylen Brown being the Celtics' best player.
Brown finished with 21 points on 8-of-15 from the field, while Derrick White added 18 points and Kristaps Porzingis chipped in 12 points for his second straight game off the bench.
Luka Doncic led the way for Dallas with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. The All-Star guard was torching the Celtics in isolation for the majority of the game, but Boston stuck to their game-plan of not putting two on the ball when Doncic was handling the rock. That sticktoitiveness paid off for the Celtics, as Doncic had eight of the Mavericks 15 turnovers and disappeared by the fourth quarter due in large part to fatigue. Boston's unwillingness to blink in the face of Doncic's scoring barrages have been one of the keys to this series thus far. 

P.J. Washington netted 17 points for Dallas, but Kyrie Irving struggled for a second consecutive game with 16 points on just 7-of-18 shooting. The Celtics have continued to figure out ways to shut the water off on Irving's scoring prowess.

The Celtics finished the game with a frigid 10-of-39 from long distance, but still found themselves the victor. Boston made 19 of its 20 free three throws and generated tons of looks at the rim by pulling Dallas' bigs out onto the perimeter with their screening actions and driving by the Mavs' point of attack defenders. On the other end, the Celtics continued to play stout defense and held the Mavericks the under 100 points for a second consecutive contest.
"I liked every shot that we took and that's the most important thing, to take what the defense
gives you," C's head coach Joe Mazzulla said after the game. "The other piece of that is the offensive rebounding. When you're not shooting it well you still want to make the right play so that it doesn't impact the other end of the floor. You have to have the offensive rebounding capacity to get extra possessions and I thought we did a really good job of that in the first half."
Boston will look to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the Mavericks in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night in Dallas at 8:30 pm ET on ABC.  

Eli Weisberger

Photo used courtesy of The Boston Globe

No comments:

Post a Comment