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Mavericks Dominate Celtics 122-84 to Stay Alive in NBA Finals, Forcing Game 5

Mavericks Dominate Celtics 122-84 to Stay Alive in NBA Finals, Forcing Game 5

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks dominated the Boston Celtics 122-84 on Friday to avoid elimination in the NBA Finals, denying the Celtics a sweep in the best-of-seven championship series.

Doncic scored 25 of his 29 points in the first half, with Kyrie Irving adding 21 points. Dallas, facing a 3-0 deficit, managed to stay alive and now trails 3-1 in the series. They will head to Boston for Game 5 on Monday.

“Like I said at the beginning of the series, it’s first to four,” Doncic said. “We’re going to believe until the end. I have big belief in this team that we can do it, so we’ve just got to keep believing.”

Doncic, criticized after fouling out in Game 3, was focused on defense as Dallas held Boston to 36.2% shooting. Jayson Tatum scored 15 points and Jaylen Brown had just 10 for the Celtics, who were out-rebounded 52-31 and out-scored 60-26 in the paint.

Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 15 points off the bench for Dallas, while rookie Dereck Lively added 11 points, including his first career three-pointer. Dallas built a commanding 61-35 halftime lead and maintained their dominance throughout the game.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla acknowledged the Mavericks’ energy and physicality, stating, “They are a great team, that’s the reason why they are here when they play like that.”

The Mavericks handed Boston their first road defeat of the playoffs and snapped the Celtics’ 10-game winning streak. Boston shot just 36.2% from the floor and made only 14 of their 41 three-point attempts.

Celtics guard Jrue Holiday commented on the difficulty of winning Game 4, saying, “Winning any game is hard. But winning Game 4 of the NBA Finals is pretty damn hard.”

Doncic emphasized the team’s defensive effort, noting, “I think our energy was way higher. Everybody was locked in on the defensive end.”

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd praised Doncic, saying, “He’s great, he’s been great, he’s one of the best players in the world. As much as we want to criticize him, he’s a hell of a player.”

The Mavericks now look to continue their momentum and stave off elimination in Game 5, while the Celtics aim to secure their 18th NBA title.

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