NBA: Celtics hold off Mavericks for 3-0 lead in NBA Finals

By Sports Desk June 12, 2024

Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and Jaylen Brown added 30 as the Boston Celtics fended off the Dallas Mavericks’ furious rally for a 106-99 victory for a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

Brown finished with eight rebounds and eight assists and Derrick White had 16 points as Boston extended its franchise record with a 10th consecutive playoff win and moved to 7-0 on the road this postseason.

The Celtics can wrap up the series and win their 18th title to break a tie with the Lakers for most NBA championships with a victory Friday night in Dallas.

None of the previous 156 teams to face a 3-0 deficit has rallied to win an NBA playoff series.

Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out about two hours before the game because of a rare tendon injury in his lower left leg sustained in Game 2. But the Celtics improved to 10-1 in these playoffs without the 7-foot-2 Latvian.

Kyrie Irving scored 35 points for Dallas and Luka Dončić added 27 before he fouled out with 4:12 remaining.

The Celtics opened a 91-70 lead at the end of a 20-5 run early in the fourth quarter, but the Mavs answered with a 22-2 spurt to pull within 93-92 on Irving’s jumper with 3:37 left.

Brown made a layup and White hit a 3-pointer before Irving sank a pair of free throws. Tatum dunked and Brown drilled a long jumper sandwiched around Dereck Lively II’s dunk to put Boston up 102-98.

PJ Washington and Irving both missed 3s and Tatum’s two free throws with 15 seconds left sealed the win.

Irving’s personal losing streak against the Celtics – his former team – reached 13 games.

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