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Can Porzingis keep scorching? 5 questions getting into Celtics-Mavs Sport 2

Can Porzingis stay hot? Five questions entering Celtics-Mavs Game 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston The Boston Celtics threw the first punch in the 2024 NBA Finals with a 10 7 -89 win in Game 1 at TD Garden, and now it’s up to the Dallas Mavericks to respond. The Mavs have been in

Can Porzingis keep scorching? 5 questions getting into Celtics-Mavs Sport 2

Can Porzingis stay hot? Five questions entering Celtics-Mavs Game 2 initially appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics threw the primary punch within the 2024 NBA Finals with a 107-89 win in Game 1 at TD Garden, and now it is as much as the Dallas Mavericks to reply.

The Mavs have been on this scenario earlier than. They misplaced the primary recreation in each the primary spherical and convention semifinals. They bounced again with a Sport 2 victory in every collection.

Replicating that success a 3rd time will probably be a tough problem for the Mavericks. The Celtics have received a franchise report eight straight playoff video games and star middle Kristaps Porzingis is again within the lineup after lacking many of the Japanese Convention playoffs.

What ought to we look ahead to in Sport 2 on Sunday evening in Boston? Listed below are 5 key questions.

Will Mavs’ position gamers step up?

The Mavericks cannot win this collection if their position gamers do not present up. Dallas gamers not named Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving mixed to attain simply 47 factors on 17-of-39 capturing in Sport 1, and people numbers are inflated a bit by Jaden Hardy scoring 11 factors in rubbish time through the fourth quarter.

P.J. Washington was the one different Mavs starter moreover Irving and Doncic to attain in double figures.

Derrick Jones Jr. chipped in 5 factors. Josh Green, Dereck Lively II and Maxi Kleber scored solely two factors every. Foul bother restricted Energetic to only 18 minutes of motion.

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It is honest to surprise after Sport 1 if the Mavs have the firepower to maintain up with the Celtics. The C’s are averaging 111.1 factors per recreation within the playoffs. They’d six gamers rating 10-plus factors Thursday, and Sam Hauser was shut with eight.

Even when Doncic and Irving rating 30 factors apiece, the Mavericks nonetheless want a number of different gamers to contribute at a excessive stage offensively. Position gamers usually carry out higher at residence, however the Mavs have to win not less than one recreation in Boston to develop into NBA champions.

Washington is the important thing. The Mavs misplaced Sport 1 in each the primary and second rounds of the playoffs, however they received Sport 2 in every of these collection as a result of Washington scored 18 factors in opposition to the Clippers and 29 factors in opposition to the Thunder. Can he ship one other glorious Sport 2 efficiency on the highway Sunday? Dallas badly wants it.

Will Kyrie Irving be extra environment friendly offensively?

Doncic scored 30 factors on 12-of-26 capturing with 10 rebounds however only one help in Sport 1. It was a good-but-not-great efficiency. Irving, alternatively, performed poorly. In actual fact, it was certainly one of his worst outings of the playoffs.

Irving scored simply 12 factors on 6-of-19 capturing. He missed all 5 of his 3-point makes an attempt and dedicated three turnovers. He completed with solely two assists.

The Celtics did a pleasant job defending Irving, together with on the rim.

“I feel that (the Celtics) actually depend on their nice defensive ball stress and one-on-one defenders,” Irving instructed reporters in his postgame press convention. “They funnel us into sure areas. At the same time as I say that, they’re counting on the one-on-one, each time I acquired an iso, there’s virtually two, three folks ready for me to get in there. I’ve to catch the ball on a dwell dribble and simply pay attention to my alternatives.

“It is uncharacteristic for us to have solely 9 assists. The ball has acquired to maneuver somewhat bit extra. And once more, that begins with me simply with the ability to push the tempo, get us some simple alternatives, and simply regulate to what they’re throwing at us.”

The Mavericks are 3-3 within the playoffs when Irving scores 16 or fewer factors. They’re 9-3 when he scores greater than 16 factors. Doncic can’t beat the Celtics by himself. If Irving would not assist out offensively in a big means, this collection will probably be over quickly.

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Can Kristaps Porzingis replicate Sport 1 efficiency?

Porzingis performed among the finest first quarters by a Celtic in NBA Finals historical past in Sport 1. He got here off the bench and scored 11 factors and blocked three pictures within the opening body. The Celtics had a one-point lead when he checked into the sport and it grew to 17 by the top of the quarter.

Porzingis shot 2-of-4 from 3-point vary and likewise took benefit of matchups in opposition to smaller gamers by capturing proper over them along with his 7-foot-2 body.

Porzingis completed with 20 factors on 8-of-13 capturing. He additionally performed nice defensively by blocking three pictures and altering a number of others.

This sequence through the first quarter illustrated the two-way influence Porzingis made within the collection opener.

It’s going to be attention-grabbing to see what sorts of Sport 2 changes the Mavericks make with regard to Porzingis. He is a really totally different sort of middle than what they confronted within the Western Convention Finals when Rudy Gobert was on the ground. Porzingis can rating from wherever on the court docket and is a brick wall defensively within the paint.

“KP was nice, he knocked down pictures. He modified pictures. He blocked pictures,” Mavs head coach Jason Kidd instructed reporters postgame. “He gave them a spark when he got here off the bench. We have simply acquired to make it somewhat bit harder on the offensive finish. We have got to make him do one thing totally different. He acquired nice seems to be and knocked them down.”

If Porzingis performs wherever close to the extent he did in Sport 1 for the remainder of the collection, the Mavs are in serious trouble.

Will Jayson Tatum be extra assertive in trying to rating?

You already know the Celtics are a particular crew when their finest participant would not have to attain 25-plus factors to make a huge effect on the sport.

Tatum is the crew’s finest rebounder. Frankly, he is among the finest rebounding wings in all of basketball. He pulled down 11 boards in Sport 1 and leads the Celtics with 10.4 rebounds per recreation within the playoffs. Tatum additionally makes an enormous distinction as a playmaker. He attracts a lot consideration on drives to the basket, however as a substitute of forcing robust pictures, he is persistently discovering the open man. He dished out 5 assists Thursday, and that quantity may have been so much increased however his teammates shot simply 5-of-19 on his feeds.

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However even when the Celtics do not require a high-scoring recreation from Tatum to pile up victories, it will undoubtedly assist if he was somewhat extra of an element offensively. He scored simply 16 factors on 6-of-16 capturing in Sport 1. He tried solely two free throws. The celebrity ahead performed the entire first quarter however had just one shot try within the body.

Tatum is able to dominating offensively — he averaged 30.3 factors per recreation within the convention finals — and there are many favorable matchups for the Celtics to reap the benefits of when he has the ball in his fingers. A extra assertive Tatum on that finish of the ground on Sunday evening can be a pleasant increase for Boston.

Is Sport 2 a must-win for Mavs?

Is that this a foolish query after one recreation? Possibly somewhat bit, however think about the next details:

  • The Celtics misplaced back-to-back video games simply 4 instances through the common season, and their longest dropping streak was two video games.

  • The Celtics haven’t misplaced 4 instances in 5 video games all season.

  • The Celtics are 6-0 on the highway within the 2024 playoffs and have received eight straight postseason highway video games relationship again to final 12 months.

  • The Celtics are 42-1 all-time in collection throughout which they took a 2-0 lead. The one loss was to LeBron James and the Cavs within the 2018 Japanese Convention Finals.

The Mavs haven’t confronted an 0-2 collection deficit in these playoffs. They’ve stolen homecourt benefit within the first two video games in every of their first three collection. So in the event that they had been to go down 0-2 in opposition to the perfect crew within the league, one that usually performs higher on the highway than at residence, that may be a unique sort of stress Dallas hasn’t handled within the 2024 playoffs.

It would not be unattainable for the Mavericks to win the collection in the event that they trailed 0-2, however historical past wouldn’t be on their facet. Simply three groups since 1977 — 2021 Bucks, 2016 Cavaliers, 2006 Warmth — have fallen behind 0-2 within the NBA Finals and received the collection.

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