2024 NBA Finals: Celtics dominate Mavericks in Game 1 win as Kristaps Porziņģis shines in return

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The NBA Finals started with hot shooting, with the two teams trading baskets and leads. Kyrie Irving scored four early points for Dallas while Al Horford scored twice.

Following a Celtics timeout, fans got their first look at Kristaps Porzingis coming off the bench. Derrick White connected on back-to-back threes to give Boston a cushion

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The Boston Celtics, behind a strong return from Kristaps Porziņģis, made a statement early in the NBA Finals.

NBA Finals
NBA Finals

In Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night at TD Garden, the Boston Celtics easily defeated the Dallas Mavericks 107-89, blowing open a nearly 29-point advantage in the first half. The Celtics have now won eight straight games in addition to all of their postseason Game 1 victories.

However, Luka Dončić and the Mavericks are currently trailing in their first NBA Finals since the team’s 2011 championship victory with Dirk Nowitzki. Up until Thursday night, the Mavs had also triumphed in five straight road games.

Kristaps Porziņģis powers huge Celtics run

With a calf injury that he initially suffered during Boston’s first-round series against the Miami Heat, Porziņģis has missed the team’s last ten games.

However, he quickly made up lost time after entering the game for just the second time in his career off the bench. Early in the first quarter, PorziŇģis scored eight points, including a thunderous dunk as he blew by Josh Green and Dereck Lively II. This gave the Celtics a double-digit lead and prompted the Mavericks to call an early timeout in the opening frame.

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NBA Finals

He then came out of the timeout, drilled a very deep 3-pointer and immediately came up with a block on the other end to set up another 3-pointer for the Celtics. Just like that, after a 23-5 run, the Celtics were up by 17 points. That marked the largest lead after the first quarter in a Game 1 in NBA Finals history.

Porziņģis and the Celtics kept it going in the second quarter and easily took a 21-point lead into the locker room at the break. They opened the second quarter on a 21-11 run, took a brief 29-point lead and made 11 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes. Porziņģis had 18 points and shot 7-of-9 from the field in the first half. The Mavericks, on the other hand, went just 3-of-13 from the 3-point line.

Celtics fend off Mavericks run in the nba final

Despite the enormous early disadvantage, Dallas gradually began to chip away at Boston’s lead in the third quarter. Subsequently, following several impressive baskets from Kyrie Irving and a crucial 3-pointer by Dončić to finish a 20-6 run, the score was reduced to eight points.

NBA Finals

That, however, was as close as Dallas got. Boston rallied immediately out of a timeout and ended the period on a 14-2 burst. That gave the Celtics a 20-point lead once again and was more than enough to push them to the eventual 18-point win.

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Porziņģis finished with 20 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. Jaylen Brown led the way with 22 points while shooting 7-of-12 from the field, and Jayson Tatum finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, although he did have six turnovers. The Celtics set an NBA Finals record, too, with seven different players making multiple shots from behind the arc.

Though it’s still early — Dončić and Irving are more than capable of keeping the Mavericks in it — the Celtics look like a team poised to run to what would be their 18th championship in franchise history. Sunday’s Game 2 isn’t a must-win for Dallas by any means, but the Mavericks will need to at least keep it close before the series heads to Texas. Otherwise, things could get out of hand quickly.

Final: Celtics 107, Mavericks 89

Though things got close for a brief moment in the second half, the Celtics have taken a 1-0 series lead over the Mavericks. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 22 points, and Kristaps Porzingis dropped 20 in his return.

Luka Dončić led all scorers with 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks.

NBA Finals