Friday, June 7, 2024

Celtics 107, Mavericks 89: Kristaps Porzingis records 20 points in Game 1 return [BOS leads series, 1-0]

The Celtics struck first to take 1-0 lead in the NBA Finals with a 107-89 Game 1 win over the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night at TD Garden.

Jaylen Brown finished with 22 points, six rebounds while Kristaps Porzingis netted 20 points off the bench on 8-of-13 from the field in his return from a soleus strain in his right calf -- which kept him sidelined for 38 days.
"Tonight was affirmation to myself that I'm pretty good," Porzingis said in his postgame comments. "I'm not perfect but I can play like this and I can add to this team."
Jayson Tatum added 16 points, 11 rebounds and Derrick White chipped in 15 points and five assists for the C's, who have won a playoff franchise record of eight straight.
"Getting back to this point and being here is really a big deal," Tatum said in his postgame presser. "But two years ago we won the first game and we know the outcome of that series. We still have a lot of work to do."
Luka Dončić led all scorers with 30 points (12-of-26 shooting), to go along with 10 rebounds, while P.J. Washington recorded 14 points, eight rebounds and Kyrie Irving went 6-of-19 for just 12 points to lead the Mavs.

The Celtics trailed by one before Porzingis entered the game for the first time to a roar from the fans in attendance, scoring a quick 12 points by the end of the opening quarter -- giving the home team a 37-20 advantage heading into the second.
"That's the KP that helped us get to where we are today," coach Joe Mazzulla said. "It doesn't matter how long the guy is off, he's going to make plays."
Boston continued to pour it on as part of a 44-16 run to lead 58-29 (their largest margin) with 4:11 left in the half, before the Mavericks responded with a 35-14 spurt of their own to cut the deficit to single digits on back of 15 points by Dončić by the 4:28 mark in the third.

The Celtics outscored Dallas 14-2 the rest of the third period to make it 86-66 to start the final frame. With 5:17 left to play, the Mavericks pulled their starters down 100-75. Dallas was held to just 89 total points, the lowest of the playoffs.
"Either you lose or you win,"Dončić told reporters. "First to four, we've got to focus on the next game."
Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday night, as the Celtics look to take a 2-0 commanding series lead. ABC has the tip-off at 8:00 pm ET.

Game Notes:

Boston was 47.6% from the field, including 16-of-42 (38.1%) from behind the arc, while the Mavericks were 41.7% from the floor and 7-of-27 (25.9%) from long distance. The C's won the rebound battle 47-43, but were outscored in the paint 46-38. The Celtics dished out 23 assists on 39 baskets to Dallas handing out nine dimes on 35 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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