Boston Holds Home Court

Written by on June 30, 2024

Written by Curtis Wright Jr.

Published on June 30, 2024

The Boston Celtics hold home court and win game two of this year’s NBA finals against the Dallas Mavericks 105-98 at TD Garden. 

Celtics are coming off a dominant game 1 victory. In that game Boston led by as much as 29 and led in all of the last 3 quarters. Considering the abysmal record that the Mavs have in Game 1’s through head coach Jason Kidd’s tenure combined with the fact that the only two losses the Celtics have this postseason were in game 2’s (Cavaliers & Heat), this game had major hype.

Mavs leading scorer Luka Doncic started off the game with a bang scoring 23 first half points. This wasn’t enough to give the mavs a lead at halftime as they trailed 51-54 at the halfway mark. He struggled a bit missing four free throws but made up for it in field goals. Luka finished the game with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists but also had 8 turnovers and played some abysmal defense. Luka mentioned this after the game. “My turnovers and missed free throws cost us the game. I have to be better in those two categories.”

Luka wasn’t the only person who had trouble with something in Game 2. Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving is still struggling from the field. Irving went 7/18 from the field which doesn’t look too bad until you know he was 3 for 13 from the field after the first quarter. Kyrie was also 0/3 from the 3 point line in Game 2. Irving, a 41% 3 point shooter this series, has still yet to make a 3 pointer this series. Irving acknowledged his struggles in the postgame. “A lot of shots were hitting the back rim, that can piss you off as a competitor, but it’s all a part of the game of basketball and you’ve got to accept the ups and downs of this.” Kyrie is shooting a personal playoff low 35 percent from the field this series. 

Celtics point guard Jrue Holiday had an amazing game finishing going 11 for 14 from the field. He finished with a team high 26 points along with 11 rebounds. This combined with his amazing defense throughout the game really set the tone. Him only having one block and one steal truly doesn’t shine a light on his defensive impact in this game. The biggest testament to his success on the defensive end is how he is stifling arguably the best ball handler in NBA history in Kyrie Irving. 85% of Irving’s shots have been contested, he’s only shooting 35% on such shots.

In a league filled with stars everyone is worried about how Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum would match up when in fact the role players have kept the Celtics afloat. Tatum is in fact having the worst two game stretch of the season for himself. 

In Game 2, Tatum shot 6 for 22 from the field and was 1/7 from three point range. Tatum finished the game with 18 points 9 rebounds and a game high 12 assists. Tatum explained his thought process behind the struggles and the low scoring numbers, “We’re so close to what we’re trying to accomplish – why would I let my ego or need to score a lot of points get in the way of that?” This comes off as a bit confusing to fans considering he took the most shots in the game. Tatum currently has the all time lowest field goal percentage in the finals of any player with at least 8 games played & 150 attempts in the shot clock era.

There was a bit of controversy regarding a no call on a dunk attempt by Mavericks Forward PJ Washington with under a minute left. Score being 103-98 With Boston in the lead, Dallas got a turnover into a fast opportunity that resulted in a Derrick White block on PJ Washington. Slow-motion showing what looked like a push by Jaylen Brown in the back to PJ Washington which allowed Derrick White to come over the top and get the crucial block. 

The Celtics are now taking their show on the road for the first time this series going to Dallas for game 3. The Celtics are undefeated on the road this playoffs (6-0), dominating their road games. The Mavs are 5-3 at home this playoffs after running through three 50 win teams

With the Celtics up 2-0 in the series, The Mavericks are in danger of falling into the infamous 0-3 hole. When down 3-0 in a series no team has ever come back and won under those circumstances. (0-154 all time) Only 3% (4)  of such teams have even forced a game 7 and all lost.

Will Kyrie finally break out of his slump at home? Will Jayson Tatum finally have a good finals game? Will the Celtics lose their first road game of the playoffs? These questions and many more will be answered Wednesday in American Airlines Center at 8:30pm EST on ABC. That’s when the Dallas Mavericks take on the Boston Celtics for game 3 of this year’s NBA Finals.


Featured Image by Steven Senne//Associated Press