Joe Murray

Joe Murray

Joe Murray

Jun 14, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots the ball against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the first quarter during game four of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night in Texas the Boston Celtics looked to capture banner 18 leading the Dallas Mavericks 3-0 in the NBA Finals. Boston will looking to climb to the NBA mountain top for the first time since 2008, with their two young superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way. While on the other side Luka Donic has drawn the ire of stark criticism around NBA circles for his play in this Finals. For Boston their only question mark heading into game 4 was the health of Kristaps Porzingis who Joe Mazzulla said could appear in the potential title clinching game. The Mavericks would need their best game of the season to keep any hopes of a title alive and it would heavily fall on the shoulders of their star Luka Doncic who would need to rebound massively after fouling out of game 3.

First Quarter:

The Celtics would start the game winning the tip but both teams would fail to score on their first possessions. Kyrie Irving would start the scoring for both sides giving the Mavericks a very early 2-0 lead. Boston would take their first lead of the night off a Tatum 3 pointer going up 5-4 early. Both teams would continue to trade shots throughout the first quarter with as usual Luka and Kyrie combining for most of the Mavericks offense. Dallas would rally out of the first tv timeout going on a 5-0 run to take a 15-11 lead with 5:50 to go in the first quarter.

Dallas would continue to stay hot and get up to a 21-14 lead after a pair of Luka Doncic free throws with just over 4 minutes to go in the quarter. Joe Mazzulla would call his first timeout in the middle of Doncic free throws to try and settle things for a Celtics team that was just a little out of sorts early on. Boston would continue to struggle on both ends, Luka and Kyrie would outscore the Celtics through the first 8 minutes giving the Mavericks a 25-14 lead with just over 3 minutes to go in the quarter.

The Mavericks onslaught would continue as they were dominating the glass with 9 more rebounds than the Celtics early on, giving themselves a 28-18 lead with 1:22 to go in the first. Every mistake the Celtics made the Mavericks would capitalize hitting back to back 3 pointers late in the quarter to end the first leading 34-21.

  • Second Quarter:

    The Mavericks would continue to crush the Celtics on the glass in the second quarter taking their largest lead of the series 36-21 with 11:02 to go in the half. Joe Mazzulla would be forced to call another early quarter timeout with Dallas running Boston off the floor. Dallas would extend it’s lead to 17 after a Dante Exum 3 pointer made it 39-22 with just over 9 minutes to go in the half. Boston was getting nothing offensively and their defense wasn’t much better. 

    The disaster first half would roll on for Boston with Doncic hitting a tough jumper to give them a 43-25 lead and Doncic 16 points in the game. With 6:35 to go in the half the Mavericks would take their first 20 point lead of the series 45-25 forcing Mazzulla into another timeout. Thing would only continue to get worse for Boston as the quarter went on, the Celtics offense was ice cold and the Mavericks would continue to pull away going up 52-28 with just under 5 minutes to go in the half. Boston would stay ice cold in the first half struggling mightily on both ends putting themselves in a massive hole, in a game that was supposed to be a celebration for the green. Dallas would take a 61-35 lead into halftime doing everything they possibly could to stave off elimination. 

  • Josue Pavón on X (formerly Twitter): "Just an incredible first half for Luka Doncic. The best we've seen throughout the #NBAFinals, he has 25 of the Mavs' 61 points along with four assists at halftime / X"

    Just an incredible first half for Luka Doncic. The best we've seen throughout the #NBAFinals, he has 25 of the Mavs' 61 points along with four assists at halftime

    Third Quarter:

    For Celtics fans that were hoping the team would flip the script coming out of halftime the first few minutes were just the opposite. As Dallas would continue to score at will, the Celtics would continue to make mistakes on both ends and get crushed for them. Dallas would hold a 64-38 with 10:52 to go in the third. The Mavericks bigs who were heavily lauded heading into the series but had struggled to this point Gafford and Lively were dominating in game 4. 

    Everything would continue to go wrong for Boston and right for the Mavericks as they’d take a 75-42 lead with 8:38 to go in the third quarter. Doncic rebounded massively from his tough game 3 with 27 pints 4 rebounds and 5 assists to this point in the game. The Celtics had no answers for Dallas on the glass as they continued to get dominated on both ends rebounding the ball. Joe Mazzulla would call another timeout with his team trailing 80-47, Mazzulla would not pull his starters yet hoping Boston had one more run in them to try and get back into the game. 

    That run would not come for the Celtics though as they continued to play their worst game of the playoffs as the Mavericks played their best. Boston would play their bench the final few minutes of the third with the game seemingly out of hand. Dallas would take a 92-60 lead into the fourth quarter in prime position to send the series back to Boston. 

  • Dan Roche on X (formerly Twitter): "With the score 88-52(36) and 3:18 to go in the 3rd quarter- Joe Mazzulla raises the white flag. Pulls the starters for the night No need for anyone to get hurt and mentally/physically get ready for G5 Monday @tdgarden #NBAFinals @wbz / X"

    With the score 88-52(36) and 3:18 to go in the 3rd quarter- Joe Mazzulla raises the white flag. Pulls the starters for the night No need for anyone to get hurt and mentally/physically get ready for G5 Monday @tdgarden #NBAFinals @wbz

    Fourth Quarter:

    The fourth quarter was all but a formality in this one with Boston and Dallas pulling their starters to get ready for game 5 back in Boston on Monday night. The Celtics bench would show resiliency but it was all too little too late as the Mavericks scored over 100 points for the first time in the series with over 9 minutes to go in the game. The Mavericks would go up by 39 with 8:01 to go in the game after a Tim Hardaway Jr 3 pointer, forcing Mazzulla to take another timeout but at this point it didn’t matter the game was over and Boston knew they’d be heading home for game 5 after Dallas played their best basketball when they needed too most. 

    Tim Hardaway Jr. would continue to bury what were meaningless 3’s in game 4 but could they translate to him being a real option for a Mavericks team that had struggled to score before tonight’s game. Boston was shooting just 34% from the field with 6:30 to go in the game and Dallas taking a 48 point lead. The record for a deficit in a loss in the NBA Finals was 42 points and the Celtics were in serious jeopardy of creating history you don’t want to be a part of tonight. 

    The Mavericks needed their best game of the season and they certainly got it on Friday night blowing out the Celtics from the opening tip. Boston now heads back to the Garden still leading the NBA Finals 3-1 but that margin feels significantly smaller than it did before game 4 tipped off. Dallas would go on to win 122-84 making the final margin 38 saving the Celtics from being the biggest losers in NBA Finals history. 

    Now all eyes will be on the Celtics over the next 48 hours as their naysayers will have plenty of fuel, but the Celtics will have two home games to try and win banner 18 and cement themselves in NBA history. 

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