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Jun 9, 2024 2:08 pm

NBA Finals G2: Mavericks-Celtics Preview, Props, Odds

jaylen brown

The Boston Celtics are coming off a rout in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but can’t let their collective foot off the gas as they attempt to take a 2-0 series lead and maintain home-court advantage over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.

TRENDING
The Celtics cruised to an 18-point win in Game 1 and opened as 7.5-point favorites ahead of Game 2. However, that line has been trimmed to 6.5 points, including at BetMGM, where the Mavericks have been backed by 70 percent of the spread-line money and 57 percent of the bets.

The public largely is expecting a far stronger effort from Dallas on Sunday night. The Mavericks’ +220 moneyline has drawn 56 percent of the money and 73 percent of the total bets.

The Mavs sputtered out of the gate in Game 1, contributing heavily to the 196 total points scored. The Over/Under ahead of Game 2 is 214.5 points, with the Over supported by 52 percent of the money and 60 percent of the total bets at the book.

PROP PICK
Kyrie Irving Over 22.5 Points (-108 at DraftKings): This is the most popular player points prop at the book. Irving is coming off a 12-point effort in Game 1 in which he made a dismal 6 of 13 shot attempts. That came after averaging 27.0 points in Dallas’ five-game series win over Minnesota.

THE NEWS
It will take a lot more than psychological warfare to slow down the Celtics if they manage to replicate their Game 1 performance. Boston cruised to a 107-89 victory on Thursday night, leading by as many as 29 points.

Jaylen Brown finished with a team-high 22 points for the Celtics, while Kristaps Porzingis returned from a 10-game absence due to a calf strain to pour in 20 in 21 minutes off the bench. Jayson Tatum finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Luka Doncic went for 30 points and 10 boards for Dallas, but Irving largely was held in check. Irving missed all five of his 3-point attempts and committed three turnovers while being taunted by Boston fans all night.

Most of the Mavericks’ struggles stemmed from a lack of ball movement, as Dallas finished with only nine assists — the fewest by any team in a game this season. Coach Jason Kidd is hoping for a more fluid performance in Game 2.

“I thought we were too much one-on-one. We’ve got to move bodies. We’ve got to move the ball. Multiple guys got to touch the ball,” Kidd said. “We were just too stagnant, and that’s not the way we play. So, we’ve got to be better (Sunday).”

KEY STAT
Irving is now 0-11 in his past 11 games against the Celtics, a losing streak that he is confident he can shed on Sunday.

“Just got to calm our nerves, poise our nerves a little bit and also just be aware of the environment that we’re in,” Irving said. “It’s going to be high intense from who we’re going against. It’s going to be very physical. Some things are going to be called, some things aren’t.

“So I think we got all that experience in Game 1, and we’re looking forward to the challenge in Game 2 to playing better, and being who we have been since post-All-Star break. … We’re the only two teams playing, so we’re proud of ourselves, but we’re not satisfied.”

THEY SAID IT
Tatum and Brown aren’t letting Kidd create a rift between them ahead of Game 2.

Kidd referred to Brown as Boston’s best player while speaking to reporters on Saturday. Whether he truly meant it or was simply trying to play mind games with the Celtics remains a mystery, but the comment didn’t elicit a reaction from Tatum or Brown.

“We understand that people try to drive a wedge in between us,” Tatum said. “Guess it’s a smart thing to do — or try to do. But we’ve been in this position for many years of guys trying to divide us and say that one of us should be traded or one’s better than the other. So it’s not our first time at the rodeo.”

Boston veteran Al Horford thought Kidd’s intentions were pretty clear.

“J-Kidd, man. I see what he’s doing,” Horford said. “Jaylen Brown is an unbelievable player … and very special for us.”

–Field Level Media

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