GENERAL NEWS

Celtics beat Mavericks, take 2-0 lead in NBA Finals as series heads to Dallas

Jun 9, 2024, 7:52 PM

nba-finals...

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) pressures Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, front right, during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON (AP) — Jrue Holiday had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Jayson Tatum made up for a rough shooting night with 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Boston Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-98 on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

Luka Doncic, who was listed as questionable to play less than two hours before the opening tipoff, scored 32 points with 11 rebounds and 11 assists — the first NBA Finals triple-double in Mavericks franchise history. But he missed a one-footed, running floater from 3-point range with 28 seconds left, ending Dallas’ last chance at a comeback.

Game 3 is Wednesday night in Dallas. The Mavericks need a win then or in Game 4 on Friday to avoid a sweep and earn a trip back to the Boston Garden, where the local fans are already making space in the rafters for what would be an unprecedented 18th NBA championship banner.

The Celtics won the opening pair in the NBA Finals for the ninth time. They have won the previous eight, and have never been forced to a Game 7 in any of them.

Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, Tatum had 18 and Derrick White also scored 18 points for top-seeded Boston. Kristaps Porzingis limped his way to 12 points. Tatum was 6 for 22 shooting and 1 of 7 from 3-point range; the Celtics were 10 for 39 from long distance overall.

Kyrie Irving, who’s drawn the animosity of the local fans ever since cutting short his stay in Boston in 2019, scored 16 points; he has lost 12 games in a row against the Celtics.

Unlike their 107-89 victory in Game 1, when a fast start from 3-point range staked them to a 29-point, first-half lead, the Celtics missed their first eight attempts from long distance and were around 20% for most of the game.

Tatum scored zero points in the first quarter and had only five at halftime, when he was still 0 for 3 from 3-point range. Boston was still just 5 for 30 from long distance when Peyton Pritchard banked in a half-courter at the third-quarter buzzer to give Boston an 83-74 lead.

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