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Celtics Hold Off Late Mavericks Rally to Extend NBA Finals Lead



Celtics Hold Off Late Mavericks Rally to Extend NBA Finals Lead

The Boston Celtics, powered by Jrue Holiday’s 26 points, managed to fend off a late surge from the Dallas Mavericks to secure a 105-98 victory on Sunday, taking a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals. Despite early difficulties with their three-point shooting, the Celtics relied on a robust team effort to clinch their second consecutive home win. They now head to Dallas for Game 3 on Wednesday with a commanding advantage.

Jaylen Brown contributed 21 points, while Jayson Tatum added a versatile performance with 18 points, nine rebounds, and 12 assists. Tatum’s leadership, despite his shooting struggles (6-of-22 from the field and just one three-pointer), was pivotal according to Holiday, who praised Tatum’s playmaking under pressure.

“I would say a lot of it was JT,” Holiday said. “They were double-teaming him and he was making the right play. The way that he played tonight, the way that he led us, getting into the paint, making plays, finding me wide open – it was all about him.”

Luka Doncic, despite battling a chest contusion, a right knee sprain, and a sore left ankle, recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. However, the Mavericks’ star lacked sufficient support from his teammates. P.J. Washington scored 17 points, and Kyrie Irving added 16 points but struggled with his shooting, hitting just seven of 18 shots and missing all three of his three-point attempts.

Doncic pinpointed turnovers and missed free throws as critical factors in the loss. He accounted for eight of the Mavericks’ 15 turnovers and missed key free throws, with Dallas making only 16 of their 24 attempts from the line compared to Boston’s 19-of-20.

“At the end of the day we’ve got to make some more shots,” Doncic said. “I think my turnovers and my missed free throws cost us the game, so I’ve got to do way better in those two categories. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to make shots to win the game.”

The Celtics, who remain unbeaten on the road this postseason, will face increased pressure from the Mavericks in Dallas. Doncic emphasized the need for improved overall play regardless of the venue.

“At the end of the day it’s basketball, away or home,” Doncic said. “We’ve just got to play better basketball to win.”

Despite trailing by 14 points with under four minutes left, the Mavericks made a valiant effort to close the gap to five points with 1:15 remaining. Doncic drove for a layup and converted the ensuing free throw, but the Celtics responded with a critical block from Derrick White on Washington and a layup by Brown to seal the victory.

The Mavericks started the game with strong defensive energy and determination, in contrast to their slow start in Game 1, with Doncic scoring 13 points in the first quarter and Irving adding eight. However, their efforts fell short against a determined Celtics team looking to capitalize on their home-court advantage.

Source: ghmediahub