NBA Finals: Mavericks steamroll Celtics to force Game 5

The Dallas Mavericks may still be down 3-1, but they made a very convincing case not to count them out of the NBA Finals on Friday night.

In 48 minutes, the Mavericks beat the Celtics 122-84 in NBA playoff history to force a tight Game 5 in Boston, Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC).

The Celtics may have three more attempts to dethrone Dallas, but there is clearly a lot to figure out if they are to celebrate an NBA-record 18th championship. In fact, the game was so one-sided that the Mavericks have now outscored them in all four games of the series.

There is no shortage of history created during the game. The 38-point margin was the third-largest in Finals history, with the lead at 47 points. The Celtics’ 35 points at halftime were the fewest they’ve scored in a half under head coach Joe Mazzulla. Luka Doncic’s 25 points at halftime were the Maverick’s most points in a Finals half.

With the game over in the third quarter, the Celtics pulled their starters, the Mavericks quickly followed suit and their reserves like Tim Hardaway Jr. continued the carnage.

However, this is still considered a single hit. The Celtics will enter Game 5 with home-court advantage, more rest than expected and Kristaps Porcisis available. The Latvian big man didn’t play a single minute in Game 4 despite being said to be there “if needed,” and his presence alone should mean an easier adjustment for Boston.

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

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Here’s how it went down:

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  • The Mavs walloped the Celtics, 122-84

    That’s it, Dallas won Game 4, 122-84, and the Celtics take a 3-1 series lead with Game 5 back in Boston on Monday. It was the third-highest margin of victory in NBA Finals history.

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. comes alive

    With the game over, Tim Hardaway Jr. hit five 3s in 2:47. Need something to build for Game 5?

  • Mavs 92-60 after 3 quarters

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

  • The NBA Finals is garbage time

    Two minutes later, after introducing a wedgie, Luca also checked out. Kyrie and Lively joined the Mavs at age 35. Let’s all settle NBA Finals garbage time in 14 minutes!

  • The Celtics hoisted the white flag

    Boston empties its bench with 3:18 to play in the third. Oshae Brisset, Luke Kornet, Svi Mykhailiuk join Hauser and Pritchard. It’s going back to Boston, folks.

  • Did the Mavs find something?

    Dallas has a lot of wins tonight with this Luka-Kyrie-Josh Green-Maxi-Lively lineup. Two big ones, Green’s quickness coming downfield, shifty defense. Lots of uses from this unit on both ends.

  • Bustle on the boards

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

  • Do we believe?

    “Don’t Stop Believing” plays on AAC. Perhaps as a symbol, perhaps, as a reminder to everyone … there is no such thing as South Detroit. Because it’s Canada.

  • Not Boston’s night

    The Celtics are 7-for-21 in the paint in Game 4, including an abysmal 1-for-12 from floater range. Some credit belongs to the Mavericks defense there, but man, that was some bad ending.

  • No KB

    Porzingis is not currently on Boston’s bench, having not played a single second in the first half, as some expected.

  • Luca adjusts his game

    Luca figured out how to allow him guilt as opposed to making it all up. He hits a closeout and uses his body to get down.

  • Gafford creates excitement

    What a start to the third quarter from Daniel Gafford. He swatted Tatum’s step-back 3 after taking a lob from Luka, running into the post and connecting from the lane.

  • Boston was still divided

    For (at least) the second time tonight, Jrue Holiday gets off a base to kick the ball into the corner; It culminates in a drive, a contest at the rim and a missed shot that put Dallas out in transition. After a long and loud Daniel Gafford lob, the lead was 29 — 67-38 Mavs.

  • Is that bad?

    For Boston, the 35 points were the Celtics’ lowest single-half scoring effort all season.

  • The Mavs led 61-35 at halftime

    Great play to close Dallas’ quarter: As Luca drove into the paint, Maxi Kleber cut around a baseline screen from under the rim to the right corner. Luka, flying into the air, let go of his floater, saw him and threw a wild lane to Kleber in the corner. Kleber comes clean off the screen, makes the catch and cashes in. A poor finish for the Mavs, who lead 61-35 at halftime.

  • Maxi Kleber vision

    It’s time to switch to Maxi Kleber. A 3-pointer before the end of the first half cut Dallas’ lead to 26 going into halftime. He was very reluctant to shoot all the sequences, but with the clock ticking, he had no choice but to start.

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