2024 NBA Finals: Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics Game 1 Preview

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are in the NBA Finals and are looking to bring the title home.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

How did we get here?
The Dallas Mavericks have put to rest the question of who’s the best team in the Western Conference. Dallas was in a dog fight with the Los Angeles Clippers in Round 1 and in Round 2 Dallas hand their hands full with an up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder team. In the Western Conference Finals they had the Minnesota Timberwolves on the ropes and almost swept them in 4 games but ultimately won the series in 5 games. Here we are in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics who are favored to win it all against Dallas. ESPN, US Today and the Sporting News is predicting that the Celtics will win it all in 6 games. Keep in mind that Dallas was the underdog throughout this playoff run. Dallas has a pretty good team that has matched the energy of every team they faced in these playoffs and has exceeded what anyone has thought at this point. Dallas has been solid on the road and has played tough at home to win in tight situations. Dallas has been down 13+ points entering into the closing minutes of the fourth quarters in 4 games this post-season and won by 5 or 6 points. The only way to put the Mavericks away is to be up by 20+ points. Dallas will be on the hunt to win another championship.

What to Watch for
Dallas has four players that can make a huge impact in this series. As you probably already know, Kyrie Irving earned a championship ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In that series he averaged 27.1 points per game and hit the game winning 3-point shot against the Warriors to win it. Next up is Luka Doncic. Luka is averaging 33.9 points per game leading the Mavericks in scoring, rebounding and assists. The third piece of the equation is center Daniel Gafford. He will need to be that solid player in the paint grabbing key defensive rebounds and getting the ball up the floor for easy transition buckets. Finally, Mavs forward P.J. Washington. He showed up in the Thunder series averaging 24.3 points per game but disappeared in the Western Conference Finals. Dallas will need for him to get back on track and play some solid defense on the wing guarding Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

Players to Watch
First things first, the Injury Report will play a huge factor in this series. Dallas has a couple of players on the injury list with Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Luka Doncic listed as (GTD) Game time decision. We all know that Doncic is playing… Boston doesn’t have any players listed on the Injury Report. In regard to the Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown is averaging 26.3 points per game while Jayson Tatum is averaging 26.9 points per game throughout the playoffs. Former Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis is healthy now and averaged 24.0 points per game against the Mavericks this season. For the Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic has been their leading scorer in the playoffs with 33.9 points per game. Kyrie Irving who’s been the best closer in this season’s playoffs is averaging 15 points per game in the 4th quarter. P.J. Washington has been putting up 15 points per game and center Derek Lively III has been averaging 3 blocks per contest in the playoffs.

Game 1
Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics
Date: June 6
Time: 7:30 PM
This game will be the “Feel Out Game”, of the series. Both teams will come out tight and look for an edge on taking the series in 4 games. Both teams feel as if they have the goods to sweep a team, but not in this case. Dallas usually struggles in Game 1’s. Boston has a two-headed monster in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Dallas on the other hand can match up with Boston but if the Mavericks win the rebounding game. Dallas will walk away with an easy win. I’m taking Dallas by 7. The Mavericks have a chance to put some pressure on Boston and steal a win on the road.
Final Score: Mavericks 118 – Celtics 112