NBA Finals: Mavericks beat Celtics to force Game 5

The Dallas Mavericks may still be down 3-1, but they made a very compelling case Friday night for not being eliminated from the NBA Finals.

Over the course of 48 minutes, the Mavericks pulled off one of the most unholy defeats in NBA playoff history with a 122-84 win over the Celtics, setting up Game 5 in Boston on Monday at 8:30 PM ET (ABC). .

The Celtics may have three more attempts to beat Dallas, but they clearly have a lot to figure out if they want to celebrate their 18th NBA championship. In fact, this game was so one-sided, the Mavericks have now outscored them in all four games of the series.

There was no shortage of history made during the match. The 38-point margin is the third-largest blowout in Finals history, with the lead peaking at 47 points. The Celtics’ 35 points in the first half were the fewest they have scored in a half under coach Joe Mazzola. Luka Dončić’s 25 points in the first half were the most ever by a Maverick in a semifinals.

The game was so over the top in the third quarter that the Celtics pulled their starters, the Mavericks quickly followed suit, and then reserves, like Tim Hardaway Jr., continued the carnage.

However, it still only counts as one win. The Celtics will enter Game 5 with home-field advantage, more rest than expected, and possibly an available Kristaps Porzinis. The Latvian big man didn’t play a single minute in Game 4 despite being available “if needed,” and his presence alone would represent an easy adjustment for Boston.

Dončić finished with 29 points on 12-of-26 shooting and added five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Kyrie Irving scored 21 points on 10 of 18 shooting with six assists and four rebounds.

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Here’s how it all went down:

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  • Mavs Wallop Celtics 122-84

    And that’s it, Dallas won Game 4 122-84, while Game 5 is back in Boston on Monday with the Celtics leading the series 3-1. It is the third-largest margin of victory in NBA Finals history.

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. returns to life

    With the game decided, Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a five-point 3 with 2:47 left in the contest. Something to build on in Game 5?

  • The Mavs led 92-60 after three quarters

    After three quarters, the Mavs lead 92-60 and the starters will be just like the rest of us – sitting back and watching the rest of the game.

  • The NBA Finals are garbage time

    Less than two minutes later, right after the wedge was released, Luca went out as well. Kyrie and Lively join him with the Mavs about 35 minutes apart. Let’s all enjoy 14 minutes of NBA Finals overtime!

  • The Celtics raised the white flag

    Boston empties its bench with 3:18 to play in the third. Oshae Brissett, Luke Kornet and Svi Mikhailik join Hauser and Pritchard. This is going back to Boston, folks.

  • Did the Mavs find something?

    Dallas enjoyed a lot of success tonight with the Luka-Kyrie-Josh Green-Maxi-Lively lineup. Two big ones, Green hyperactive downhill, transferable defense. Lots of benefits from this unit on both ends.

  • Live on the boards

    Derek Lively’s seven offensive rebounds tonight are the most the Celtics have given up to any player this season, and one of their highest this season against Boston (eight, set by the Hornets’ Mark Williams in November and tied with Detroit’s Jalen Duren in December).

  • Do we believe?

    “Don’t Stop Believing” as he plays in the AAC. Symbolic, perhaps, a reminder to everyone…there is no such thing as South Detroit. Because this is Canada.

  • Not a Boston night

    The Celtics are 7-for-21 in the paint in Game 4, including a horrific 1-for-12 from floater range. Some credit goes to the Mavericks defense there, but man, that’s a bad finish.

  • No pronation

    Porzingis, as some expected, is currently not on Boston’s bench after not seeing a single second of playing time in the first half.

  • Luca adjusts his game

    Luca has figured out how to let crime work to his advantage instead of creating everything. He attacks the block, using his body and getting downhill.

  • Gafford generate excitement

    What a start to the third quarter from Daniel Gafford. He just hit a Tatum step-back 3 after finishing off a drop ball from Luka, working the post and connecting from the line.

  • Boston remains disunited

    For the second time (at least) tonight, Jrue Holiday passes on a corner kick to kick the ball into the corner; It ends up being a drive, a contest at the rim, and a missed shot that takes Dallas out of transition. Then Daniel Gafford hit a long, loud shot, and the score was 29 – 67-38 MAF.

  • Is that bad?

    For Boston, 35 points is the fewest single-half scoring attempt by the Celtics all season.

  • The Mavs led 61-35 at halftime

    Great play to close the quarter by Dallas: As Luka got into the paint, Maxi Kleber cut from under the rim to the right corner around the baseline screen. Luka, who was in the air and about to launch his floater, saw him and threw a wild pass to Kleber in the corner. Clipper comes off the screen clean, catches and cashes. A perfect end to a near-perfect half for the Mavs, who led 61-35 at the break.

  • See Maxi Clipper

    It’s time for the Maxi Clipper to transform. It’s a layup 3-pointer right before halftime to keep Dallas’ lead at 26 going into intermission. He was very hesitant and resistant to filming all the series, but as the time approached, he had no other choice but to start.

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