NBA Finals: Celtics Make Easy Work Of Mavs In Game 1

Everything went right for the Celtics in the first half. Everything went wrong for the Mavericks. And that pretty much sums up Boston’s 107-89 home victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics, PJ Washington, Dallas Mavericks, NBA

The Celtics led 37-20 at the end of the first quarter and were up 63-42 at halftime. Yes, they managed to limit the typically high-octane Mavs to 42 points in the first 24 minutes.

Dallas managed to cut it to eight points in the third quarter, but then Jaylen Brown took over, as the Celtics responded with a 14-0 run.

In the first half, it was a whole lot of Kristaps Porzingis, the former Mav who was playing in his first playoff game since Game 4 of the first round. He had been sidelined with a calf strain until Thursday.

Porzingis, it seems, could be the difference in this series, not just with his scoring, but his ability to fend off the likes of Mavs stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving near the rim.

“It felt good to win, and to win at home,” Porzingis told NBA reporters. “But we still have work to do. These guys aren’t going to go away. We have work to do tomorrow and the day after and the day after and until the job is done.”

And today, that work only needs to result in three more wins before the Celtics franchise can hang their 18th banner.

But again, there were a few signs of hope for the Mavs after their oh-so-forgettable beginning. Boston lost Game 2s vs. both the Heat and Cavaliers in the first two rounds. So Porzingis is right — the Celtics will have to be on high alert when the teams meet again on Sunday, also in Boston.

Brown led the way on Thursday with 22 points, and Porzingis scored 20 with three blocks. Eighteen of his points came in the first half. All-Star Jayson Tatum added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Doncic led the Mavs with a game-high 30 points. But no one else, including Irving, could really get it going. Dallas recorded just nine assists on its 35 field goals, and at this stage of the game, that’s not gonna cut it.

“Either you lose or you win,” Doncic said, matter-of-factly. “First to four, we’ve got to focus on the next game.”

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