Berliner Tageblatt - Mavericks humble Celtics 122-84 to stay alive in NBA Finals

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Mavericks humble Celtics 122-84 to stay alive in NBA Finals
Mavericks humble Celtics 122-84 to stay alive in NBA Finals / Photo: © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Mavericks humble Celtics 122-84 to stay alive in NBA Finals

Luka Doncic dazzled and the Dallas Mavericks dominated Boston 122-84 on Friday to fend off elimination in the NBA Finals, denying the Celtics a sweep in the best-of-seven championship series.

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Doncic scored 29 points and Kyrie Irving added 21 for the Mavs, who snapped the Celtics' 10-game playoff winning streak but still have a mountain to climb as they try to become the first team to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series.

Now down 3-1, Dallas will try to stop the Celtics celebrating an 18th title when they travel to Boston for game five on Monday.

"We knew we have to get it, we can't lose no more," Doncic said. "As we always say, we're going to believe until the end."

Doncic, roundly criticized after game three when he fouled out with more than four minutes left and could only watch as the Mavs' comeback bid fell short, was dialed in on the defensive end as Dallas held the Celtics to 36.2% shooting.

Boston star Jayson Tatum scored 15 points and Jaylen Brown had just 10 as the Mavs posted the third-largest margin of victory in NBA Finals history.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 15 points off the bench for Dallas and 20-year-old rookie Dereck Lively added 11 -- incuding his first career three-pointer -- as the Mavs topped 100 points for the first time in the series.

Dallas handed Boston their first road defeat of these playoffs and ended their bid for the 10th 4-0 sweep in Finals history.

With Doncic and Irving leading the way, Dallas out-scored Boston 22-12 in the paint in the first quarter to build a 34-21 lead -- the Mavs' highest-scoring quarter of the series.

There was no let-up in the second, the Mavs dominating every facet of the game on the way to a 61-35 halftime lead.

Doncic scored 25 points in the first half, Irving had 11 and their supporting cast stepped up, too, Lively electrifying the crowd at American Airlines Center with his three-pointer, followed by an alley-oop dunk on the next possession in the first quarter.

"I think our energy was way higher," Doncic said. "Everybody was locked in defensive end."

The Celtics, harried at every turn, made 14 of their 41 three-point attempts. They were out-scored 60-26 in the paint and out-rebounded 52-31 -- Dallas' dominance on the boards leading to a 16-2 edge in second-chance points.

Brown went to the bench with 2:11 left in the first half after picking up his third foul.

Doncic, meanwhile, answered critics with an intense effort on both ends of the floor.

Stripped by Jrue Holiday on a drive to the basket Doncic dived for the loose ball and swatted it to Irving, who played it back to him for a layup.

Fouled on the play, Doncic made the free throw to put Dallas up 43-25 midway through the second quarter.

The Mavs were up 92-57 when Doncic and Irving checked out of the game to a standing ovation with 1:29 left in the third quarter, Irving offering Doncic a congratulatory embrace on the bench.

Boston coach Joe Mazzulla pulled his starters late in the third, their attention already turning to game five and their next chance to break out of a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for most NBA titles.

B.Shevchenko--BTB