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Celtics One Win Away From Historic 18th NBA Championship Title

Celtics One Win Away From Historic 18th NBA Championship TitleJayson Tatum (0) of the Boston Celtics lurks while Dallas Mavericks' Kyrie Irving (11) stays on guard in the fourth quarter in Game 3 of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 12, 2024 in Dallas, Texas Credit: NBAE/Getty Image

After three straight wins, the Boston Celtics will look to close out the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks when the best-of-seven series returns to Dallas on Friday night.

Coming off of a 106-99 victory on Wednesday night, they realize the historic moment in front of them and another shot at the Larry O’Brien Trophy, which slipped away two years ago.

All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the Mavs in Game 3 with 61 points combined, but they both know that the job is not done yet. “We are just saying, however long it takes. Nobody is relaxed. Nobody is satisfied,” Tatum said after the game.

For Brown, Wednesday night’s win was about the experience. “All year long we’ve been hearing about the Celtics are the past, for the last six to eight months, that’s all we’ve been hearing is all the different shortcomings we’ve had in the past. This is a new team, you know what I mean. We’ve learned from those experiences. And in these moments, you can see that we learned from it. We stepped up to the plate, and we found a way to win.” he said.

Overall, five Celtics players have scored in double-digits in each game of this series. Tatum and Jrue Holiday have led on the boards as well (8.7 and 7.7 rebounds per game, respectively), which shows the depth of the team that had the best regular season in the NBA (64-18) and has lost only twice in the playoffs so far. The Celtics were without Kristaps Porzingis,who was one of their key contributors in Games 1 and 2, but was sidelined on Wednesday due to left leg injury.

Meanwhile, after two losses in Boston, the Mavs, down 21 points, caught fire in the fourth and exploded to a 22-2 run down the stretch, ultimately coming up short in the closing seconds of Game 3. Five-time NBA All-Star Luka Doncic (29.7 points and nine rebounds per game in this series) fouled out with just over four minutes left.

Eight-time NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving finally found his rhythm, finishing with 35 points, but it was not enough to turn the Mavs’ fortunes around. The third straight loss leaves the Mavericks on the brink of elimination, though they will hope to become the first team in NBA history to come back after trailing 0-3 in a best-of-seven series.

When asked about how the Celtics are clamping down the Mavericks on the perimeter, Irving said: “They’re going to make adjustments. They know how much of our offense over the playoff run has been predicated on getting easy looks for our bigs. They’ve been taking it away, putting guards on the bigs, not really helping off of them. A lot of one-on-one defense. It’s about us finishing and hopefully that creates some space where we can throw a lob.”

Game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals will air live on ESPN and NBA League Pass at 1:30 a.m. WAT in the early hours of Saturday morning. More than 3,000 fans will gather to watch the game at NBA Finals watch parties in Lagos, Johannesburg, Durban andNairobi.

Will they witness the Celtics’ celebrations, or will the Mavs send the series back to Boston for Game 5? Doncic believes everything is still possible: “We’re not in the offseason yet. They’ve still got to win one more game. Like I said, we’re going to believe until the end.”

 


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