Porzingis shines in return, Boston takes Game 1

Boston strikes first in this year’s NBA Finals (Maddie Meyer/yahoo.com)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Boston Celtics kicked off its NBA championship title bid on a high note after blasting the Dallas Mavericks, 107-89, to take a 1-0 grand finals series lead on June 7, 2024.

Fresh off a 4-0 sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals round, the Celtics immediately shrugged off court rust issues and buckled to work against the Mavericks to protect their home court.

Game 1 of the finals seemed to develop into a nip-and-tuck affair in the first six minutes of action after Dallas took a slim 15-14 lead but in a stunning turn of events, Boston stepped on the gas pedal to finish the opening quarter with a momentum-boosting 23-5 offensive run.

After failing to suit up for the Celtics in nearly two months, Kristaps Porzingis was finally back to reinforce the C’s and he didn’t disappoint after spearheading their rally in the first quarter, dropping 11 points and two blocks in just five minutes of action.

Since the massive Boston rally, the Mavericks suddenly went flat in the second quarter and were down by as much as 29 points.

Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, and Jayson Tatum joined hands in the second frame to maintain their double-digit lead while the defense of Porzingis and Derrick White added more woes to the awful shooting of the Mavericks.

Just when Boston thought they could steamroll their way in the second half, Dallas showed they still had enough gas left in the tank after trimming their deficit to just eight points, forcing the Celtics to call a crucial timeout.

Luka Doncic continued his offensive wizardry for Dallas and carried them in that third-quarter run as he schooled the Boston defense with his slick pick-and-roll decoy plays.

However, Boston was quick to retaliate and banked on their ever-reliable defense to extend their cushion back to double digits.

Brown electrified the TD Garden with two huge blocks in the third while also providing the lacking offensive spark for the Celtics.

Despite open looks from Dallas to start the final quarter, PJ Washington and the rest just failed to convert and could only watch the Celtics dominate them on both ends of the floor.

When the lead stayed at 21 points at the 4:39 mark of the game, Dallas’ head coach Jason Kidd decided to take out all of his starters and already waved the white flag.

It was a balanced offensive attack for the Celtics as six of their players all scored in double figures led by Brown who dropped 22 points, six rebounds, three steals, three blocks, and two assists.

Meanwhile, the returning Porzingis supplied the much-needed scoring spark for the Celtics and delivered 20 markers built from an efficient 8/13 shooting from the field.

Despite a 30-point outing from Doncic, the Mavericks still went down by a huge margin. Kyrie Irving was only limited to 12 points and shot poorly from the field, only converting six of his 19 total attempts.

Both squads will meet again for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on June 10, 2024. Will Dallas level the series or will Boston sweep the first two games to go up 2-0?

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