NBA FINALS GAME 3 MAVS CELTICS – Celtics on Brink of Championship After Holding Off Mavs’ Comeback: Tatum and Brown Lead the Charge

nba finals game 3 mavs celtics
Photo Courtesy of Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP

The Boston Celtics are a win away from a championship after a thrilling 106-99 victory over the Mavericks in Game 3 of the 2024 NBA Finals.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the charge with dominant performances, but Dallas nearly stole the win with a late surge. Despite the scare, Boston holds a commanding 3-0 series lead.


Table of Contents

NBA FINALS GAME 3 MAVS CELTICS – Celtics Close in on an 18th Championship Banner

Jayson Tatum (31 points) and Jaylen Brown (30 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) led the Boston Celtics to a 106-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. 

Their on-court connection was symbolized by a long hug after the game, signifying their importance to the team’s success.

Scoring Machine: Tatum poured in a game-high 31 points, showcasing his offensive prowess. 

He displayed a diverse scoring arsenal, knocking down jump shots, attacking the basket with ferocity, and converting free throws efficiently. 

His scoring outbursts were crucial in keeping the Celtics ahead, especially during moments when the Mavericks threatened to steal the game.

Beyond the Bucket: Brown’s impact went beyond his impressive 30-point performance. He also grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 8 assists, highlighting his well-rounded skillset. 

His ability to rebound helped the Celtics control the boards and limit second-chance opportunities for the Mavericks. 

The 8 assists showcased his playmaking abilities, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates and keeping the offense dynamic.

The long hug between Tatum and Brown after the game wasn’t just a casual gesture; it was a powerful symbol of their on-court connection and shared determination.

  • Mutual Respect and Appreciation: The hug is a display of mutual respect and appreciation between the two stars. They acknowledged each other’s contributions to the win, recognizing the importance of teamwork in achieving success.
  • A Celebration of Resilience: The Celtics nearly squandered a significant lead in the fourth quarter. The hug could represent a celebration of their collective resilience in overcoming that challenge and securing the victory.
  • Building a Championship Legacy: With a 3-0 series lead, the Celtics are on the brink of a championship. The hug might symbolize the beginning of a journey towards cementing their names in Celtics’ history as a legendary duo.

Tatum and Brown’s outstanding performances and heartwarming display of camaraderie highlight the importance of their connection to the Celtics’ success:

  • Cohesive Offensive Force: Their ability to score effectively and create opportunities for each other makes them a nearly unstoppable offensive force. Opposing teams have a difficult time strategizing against them when they are both playing at such a high level.
  • Mutual Trust and Support: The long hug signifies a deep trust and support system between the two players. They are likely confident in each other’s abilities and willing to make the extra pass to ensure the team’s success.
  • Leadership by Example: Tatum and Brown are emerging as leaders for the Celtics. Their performances on the court and their positive sportsmanship inspire their teammates and set the tone for the entire team.

The Celtics’ victory over the Mavericks was a night of individual brilliance and a heartwarming display of camaraderie between Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Their connection, both on and off the court, is a major factor propelling the Celtics towards their ultimate goal: an NBA championship.

With this win, the Celtics hold a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals. 

They’ve also extended their franchise record with a 10th consecutive playoff victory and boast a perfect 7-0 record on the road this postseason. 

A win in Game 4 would secure their 18th championship title and tie them with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in NBA history.

Series Control: The 3-0 lead gives the Celtics a significant advantage. No team in NBA playoff history has ever overcome such a deficit, making a Mavericks comeback highly improbable. 

The Celtics are in complete control of their own destiny; one more win secures the championship trophy.

  • Franchise First: This victory extends the Celtics’ franchise record to 10 consecutive playoff wins. This impressive feat showcases their dominance throughout the postseason and highlights their unwavering focus on the ultimate prize.
  • Perfect Road Trip: The Celtics remain undefeated on the road this postseason, boasting a perfect 7-0 record. This remarkable achievement exemplifies their ability to perform under pressure and thrive in any environment, even hostile away crowds.
  • 18th Banner: A victory in Game 4 would deliver the Celtics their 18th NBA championship title. This would tie them with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most championships in NBA history, solidifying their position as one of the greatest dynasties in the sport.
  • Legacy of Greatness: Winning the championship would solidify the legacy of this Celtics team. Players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown would be etched in Celtics’ folklore, joining the ranks of legendary champions who donned the green and white.
  • Celtics Can’t Afford Complacency: Despite their commanding lead, the Celtics must remain focused and avoid complacency. History is within reach, but they need one more win to secure it. Coach Mazzulla will undoubtedly emphasize the importance of taking each game seriously and approaching Game 4 with the same intensity as the previous ones.
  • Pressure on the Mavericks: The pressure is now on the Dallas Mavericks. Facing elimination on their home court, they’ll need a monumental effort to force a Game 5. The atmosphere will be electric, and the Mavericks will be fighting for their season.

The NBA Finals have reached a pivotal point. The Celtics are on the brink of championship glory, while the Mavericks face an uphill battle for survival.

One team will see their dreams realized, while the other will be left to contemplate what could have been.


NBA FINALS GAME 3 MAVS CELTICS – A Near Historic Collapse Averted

Boston Squanders Big Lead: The Celtics nearly blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter, mirroring the biggest NBA Finals collapse since at least 1997. However, they showcased resilience to hold off the Mavs’ comeback attempt.

  • Strong Start: The Celtics came out strong, quickly establishing a commanding lead over the Dallas Mavericks. Their offensive and defensive play was sharp, allowing them to build a 21-point advantage by the third quarter.
  • Key Players: Boston’s star players, including Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, played crucial roles in building this lead, contributing with efficient scoring, strong defense, and pivotal assists.
  • Momentum Shift: Entering the fourth quarter, the Celtics’ momentum started to wane. The Mavericks began to mount a fierce comeback, capitalizing on Boston’s defensive lapses and offensive inefficiencies.
  • Turnovers and Missed Shots: The Celtics’ lead began to diminish as they committed several turnovers and missed key shots. This allowed the Mavericks to gain confidence and narrow the gap significantly.
  • Defensive Breakdown: The defense, which had been solid throughout the game, started showing cracks. Dallas exploited these weaknesses, hitting crucial three-pointers and executing successful drives to the basket.

Near-Historic Collapse: This near-collapse was reminiscent of some of the biggest meltdowns in NBA Finals history.

Comparatively, it mirrored collapses dating back to at least 1997, underscoring the magnitude of Boston’s near slip-up.

  • Timeout and Adjustments: Boston’s coach called a crucial timeout to regroup and strategize. The team adjusted their defense and refocused their offensive strategy to stop the Mavericks’ surge.
  • Clutch Performances: Key players stepped up in the final minutes. Clutch free throws, timely baskets, and critical defensive stops were pivotal in thwarting Dallas’s comeback attempt.
  • Team Effort: The Celtics showcased resilience as a team, with contributions from both starters and bench players to stabilize the game and secure the win.
  • Learning Opportunity: While the Celtics managed to hold off the Mavericks and secure the win, the game highlighted areas that need improvement, particularly in maintaining composure and execution during crucial moments.
  • Future Implications: This experience could serve as a valuable lesson for the team as they progress through the season, emphasizing the importance of sustaining intensity and focus throughout the entirety of a game.

The Celtics’ ability to withstand the Mavericks’ comeback and secure the victory demonstrated their resilience and potential for growth.

It was a game that not only tested their physical capabilities but also their mental toughness, and overcoming such a challenge could bode well for their future performances.

NBA FINALS GAME 3 MAVS CELTICS – Doncic’s Frustration

Doncic’s Sixth Foul: Luka Doncic, the Mavs’ superstar, fouled out with 4:12 remaining in the game, hindering their offense significantly. 

His frustration was evident in his post-game comments, where he expressed his desire to be on the court during the crucial moments.

Offensive Engine: Doncic is the engine that drives the Mavericks’ offense. His ability to score, create plays for teammates, and control the tempo is vital to their success. 

With him on the court, the Mavericks have a much better chance of creating scoring opportunities and executing their offensive sets.

  • Limited Options: Doncic’s out of the court after the 6th foul, forced the Mavericks to adjust their offensive strategy on the fly. Without their primary playmaker, they struggled to generate quality scoring opportunities. Other players had to step up and shoulder the offensive burden, a task they weren’t fully prepared for in such a high-pressure situation.
  • Frustration and Momentum Shift: Doncic’s frustration after the foul call was evident. His absence likely impacted the team’s morale and momentum. The Celtics, sensing the Mavericks’ vulnerability, capitalized on the situation and extended their lead.

NBA FINALS GAME 3 MAVS CELTICS – Doncic’s Post-Game Lament

Desire to Lead: Doncic’s post-game comments highlighted his desire to be on the court during the crucial moments of the game. 

He understands his importance to the team and his leadership role. Sitting on the bench while his team is fighting for a victory must have been incredibly frustrating for him.

  • Adjusting Without Doncic: If Doncic misses playing time due to foul trouble again, the Mavericks will need to have a contingency plan in place. This might involve other players like Kyrie Irving or PJ Washington stepping up their playmaking and scoring roles.
  • Staying Composed in Adversity: Maintaining composure in the face of adversity, like Doncic’s fouling out, is crucial. The Mavericks need to learn to adapt and overcome challenges without letting their emotions dictate their performance.

Doncic’s absence due to the sixth foul was a turning point in Game 3. It highlighted his importance to the Mavericks and the challenges they face without their star player.

The series remains alive, but the Mavericks will need to find a way to overcome Doncic’s potential foul trouble and his absence in key moments of the game if they hope to extend the series.


NBA FINALS GAME 3 MAVS CELTICS – Mavs’ Late Rally Fizzles Out

Dallas attempted a historic comeback, reminiscent of their 2011 championship run where they rallied from a 15-point deficit in the Finals against Miami.

The Mavericks’ late surge in the fourth quarter brought back memories of their 2011 Finals performance against the Miami Heat. 

In that series, they famously overcame a 15-point deficit in Game 2, igniting their championship run. This time around, they nearly pulled off a comeback from a 21-point deficit against the Celtics.

  • Similar Fighting Spirit: Just like in 2011, the Mavericks displayed a relentless fighting spirit. They refused to give up despite the daunting deficit, showcasing their heart and determination. This characteristic grit has been a hallmark of the Mavericks’ franchise and fueled their past success.
  • Doncic and Irving Take Charge: The 2011 championship run featured Dirk Nowitzki leading the charge. In this series, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving assumed that mantle. Their offensive firepower kept the Mavericks in the game and instilled hope for a potential comeback.
  • Celtics’ Resilience: Unlike the 2011 Heat, the Celtics refused to crumble under pressure. They weathered the Mavericks’ storm and held on for the win. Their experience and composure in clutch situations proved crucial in preventing a historic collapse.
  • Doncic’s Ejection: Luka Doncic’s sixth foul with over four minutes remaining was a significant blow to the Mavericks’ comeback hopes. His offensive prowess and leadership were sorely missed in the closing moments of the game, making it difficult for the Mavericks to sustain their momentum.
  • Missed Opportunities: The Mavericks had several key opportunities to take the lead in the final minutes but failed to convert on crucial shots. These missed chances ultimately cost them the game.

While the comeback attempt fell short, the Mavericks can take valuable lessons from their performance:

Building on Fighting Spirit: Their relentless effort despite the odds is a positive takeaway. This fighting spirit serve them well in the remainder of the playoffs, even if they face elimination in Game 4.

The outcome of the series remains uncertain. The Celtics are on the cusp of a championship, while the Mavericks face an uphill battle.

However, the Mavericks’ near-comeback serves as a reminder that they have the potential to be a force to be reckoned with, even in the face of adversity.

Kyrie Irving continued his personal losing streak against his former team, the Celtics, reaching 13 games. He had a strong scoring performance with 35 points, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win.

Offensive Juggernaut: Irving exploded for 35 points, showcasing his offensive skillset. 

He connected on a variety of shots, including three-pointers, driving layups, and clutch free throws. 

His scoring prowess kept the Mavericks in the game and fueled their comeback attempt.

Losing Streak Extended: Despite his impressive performance, Irving’s personal losing streak against his former team, the Celtics, reached a staggering 13 games. 

This losing streak adds a layer of frustration to his strong showing, as his individual brilliance couldn’t translate into a team victory.

  • Mental Block: Facing his former team might create a mental hurdle for Irving. The pressure to perform well against his old teammates, coupled with the weight of past defeats, could be affecting his decision-making and overall performance in clutch moments.
  • Team Fit: While Irving is a talented scorer, his style of play might not always mesh perfectly with the Mavericks’ overall strategy. This limits his effectiveness on the court and hinder the team’s ability to close out games against strong opponents like the Celtics.
  • Breaking the Curse: Irving will be determined to break his losing streak against the Celtics in Game 4. He might need to adjust his approach, focusing on facilitating for his teammates and making smarter shot selections in clutch situations.
  • Importance of Team Chemistry: The Mavericks’ success hinges not just on individual performances but also on their ability to function as a cohesive unit. Irving will need to find a way to seamlessly integrate his scoring prowess with the strengths of his teammates to overcome the Celtics.

Irving’s performance in Game 3 was a double-edged sword. He displayed his undeniable talent, but the losing streak against the Celtics continues to cast a shadow.

Whether he can overcome this mental hurdle and lead the Mavericks to victory in Game 4 remains to be seen.

NBA FINALS GAME 3 MAVS CELTICS – Looking Ahead to Game 4

  • Celtics Remain Cautious: Despite being on the verge of victory, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla emphasized the importance of maintaining focus and treating each game with urgency. They understand their vulnerability and are determined to fight for the championship.
  • Mavs Need a Miracle: The odds are stacked against Dallas, as no team in NBA playoff history has overcome a 3-0 deficit. However, they vow to “make history” and win Game 4 on their home court.


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