NBA FINALS GAME 4 MAVS CELTICS – Mavericks Avoid Elimination with Blowout Win, Force NBA Finals Back to Boston

nba finals game 4 mavs celtics
Photo Courtesy of The Sporting News

The Dallas Mavericks staved off elimination with a dominating 122-84 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. This win, the third-largest blowout in Finals history, forces the series back to Boston for Game 5.


Table of Contents

NBA FINALS GAME 4 MAVS CELTICS – A Desperate Victory for Dallas

Pack for Boston, Not Vacation: Facing elimination, the Mavericks displayed a sense of urgency. 

Coach Jason Kidd emphasized the “nothing to lose” mentality that fueled their aggressive performance. 

This desperation paid off, extending their season and forcing the Celtics to shift their focus.

Head Coach Jason Kidd recognized the precarious situation and instilled a “nothing to lose” mentality within his players.

This shift in perspective was evident in the Mavericks’ aggressive approach from the opening tip.

Gone were the tentative forays seen in previous games; instead, the Mavericks attacked the rim with ferocity, hustled for every loose ball, and displayed a relentless defensive intensity.

The Mavericks’ desperation translated into stellar results. Luka Doncic, the team’s star player, spearheaded the offensive charge, putting on a dazzling display in the first half.

His scoring prowess set the tone for the entire team, and the collective energy on both ends of the court proved to be overwhelming for the Celtics.

The Mavericks’ dominant performance not only extended their season but also forced the Boston Celtics to re-evaluate their approach.

The Celtics, who were on the cusp of a celebratory sweep, now face the harsh reality of a series that’s far from over.

The swagger they carried throughout the playoffs has been replaced with a sense of urgency, as they now have to contend with a rejuvenated and desperate Dallas team.

Game 4 could very well be a turning point in this NBA Finals series. The Mavericks have proven they can compete at the highest level, and their newfound confidence poses a significant threat to the Celtics’ championship aspirations.

The series now shifts back to Boston, where a pivotal Game 5 awaits. The Celtics will be eager to regain control and close out the series on their home court, but the Mavericks, fueled by desperation and a taste of victory, will be a formidable opponent.

NBA FINALS GAME 4 MAVS CELTICS – Dominant Doncic and Early Lead

Luka Doncic spearheaded the offensive attack, scoring 25 of his 29 points in the first half. This scoring outburst set the tone for the game and put the Celtics on their heels early.

  • Variety is the Spice of Life: Doncic didn’t rely on a single weapon in his offensive arsenal. He likely displayed a diverse skillset, knocking down jump shots from mid-range and beyond the arc, attacking the basket with power and finesse, and converting free throws efficiently. This offensive versatility made him a matchup nightmare for the Celtics’ defense.
  • Exploiting Weaknesses: The Celtics’ defense, caught off guard by the sudden shift in intensity from Dallas, struggled to contain Doncic. He identified and exploited weaknesses in their defensive schemes, finding scoring opportunities at will.
  • Early Lead, Early Confidence: Doncic’s scoring outburst in the first half wasn’t just about individual brilliance; it served a greater purpose. His hot hand propelled the Mavericks to an early lead, which instilled confidence within the entire team. This early cushion allowed them to play with a sense of freedom and aggressiveness, further disrupting the Celtics’ rhythm.
  • Demoralizing the Celtics: On the other end of the court, Doncic’s dominant performance had a psychological impact on the Celtics. Witnessing their defensive strategies fail to contain him early on could have demoralized them and contributed to a sense of frustration that carried over throughout the game.

Doncic’s first-half masterclass wasn’t just an impressive display of individual scoring; it was the spark that ignited the Mavericks’ dominant performance.

His leadership and offensive prowess set the tone for the entire game, putting the Celtics on their heels early and paving the way for a crucial victory that extended Dallas’ season.

The Mavericks controlled the tempo from the start, leading by 13 points after the first quarter and extending the lead to 26 points by halftime. This dominant performance left the Celtics reeling.

  • Aggressive Defense: The Mavericks’ defensive intensity was evident from the start. They employed a combination of aggressive on-ball pressure, tight rotations, and help defense to disrupt the Celtics’ offensive rhythm. This defensive pressure forced turnovers, contested shots, and limited Boston’s ability to get into a comfortable offensive flow.
  • Fast Breaks and Transition Points: Capitalizing on their defensive disruption, the Mavericks pushed the tempo in transition. Doncic, with his excellent court vision and passing ability, orchestrated fast breaks that led to easy scoring opportunities. These transition points further demoralized the Celtics and fueled the Mavericks’ offensive momentum.
  • Balanced Scoring: While Doncic led the charge, the Mavericks’ offensive attack wasn’t a one-man show. Other players stepped up and contributed valuable baskets, showcasing the team’s overall offensive depth. This balanced scoring made it difficult for the Celtics’ defense to focus solely on shutting down Doncic.
  • High Shooting Percentages: The early lead was bolstered by the Mavericks’ efficient shooting. They have knocked down shots at a high clip, both from inside the paint and beyond the arc. This offensive efficiency demoralized the Celtics and made it like every Mavericks possession resulted in points.
  • Psychological Advantage: By the end of the first half, the 26-point lead wasn’t just about the score; it was a psychological advantage. The Mavericks were playing with confidence and swagger, while the Celtics seemed rattled and unsure of how to respond. This shift in momentum made it an uphill battle for Boston for the remainder of the game.
  • Limited Adjustments for Celtics: With such a significant deficit at halftime, the Celtics’ options for adjustments were limited. They needed to make drastic changes to their defensive schemes and offensive approach, but such significant alterations within a short period are often difficult to implement effectively.

The Mavericks’ dominant first-half performance completely changed the complexion of Game 4.

Their aggressive defense, efficient offense, and relentless energy left the Boston Celtics grasping at straws.

With such a commanding lead heading into the second half, the Mavericks had all the momentum and confidence, ultimately paving the way for a series-extending victory.

NBA FINALS GAME 4 MAVS CELTICS – Historic Night for Dallas

The 38-point margin of victory marked the third-largest blowout in NBA Finals history. This achievement speaks volumes about the intensity and focus displayed by the Mavericks.

This wasn’t just another playoff win for the Mavericks; it was a night that defied expectations and entered the history books.

The previous two largest blowouts in Finals history – the Chicago Bulls’ 42-point victory over the Utah Jazz in 1998 and the Boston Celtics’ 39-point win against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008.

Those were moments of dominance etched in basketball memory. Now, the Dallas Mavericks have joined that elite company.

The 38-point margin of victory only tells part of the story. The true significance lies in the intensity and focus showcased by the Mavericks throughout the game.

Facing elimination, they approached the game with a desperation that fueled their relentless pursuit of victory.

Every loose ball was contested, every shot meticulously defended, and every offensive opportunity maximized.

This unwavering focus overwhelmed the Celtics and prevented them from establishing any rhythm.

This historic blowout victory could be a turning point in the entire Finals series. It served as a wake-up call to the Celtics, who might have gotten complacent after taking a 3-0 series lead.

It also injected a surge of confidence into the Mavericks, proving that they can compete and even dominate against a talented Boston team.

The series now shifts back to Boston, but the momentum has undoubtedly shifted in Dallas’ favor.

The Mavericks’ historic win goes beyond the immediate impact on the Finals. It serves as a testament to the power of resilience and determination.

Facing elimination, they refused to back down and instead delivered one of the most dominant performances in Finals history.

This victory will undoubtedly be a source of inspiration for the Mavericks going forward, reminding them that anything is possible when they play with such intensity and focus.

The 38-point margin of victory is a number that will be remembered for years to come.

However, it’s the underlying story of resilience, focus, and a team refusing to give up that truly makes this a historic moment for the Dallas Mavericks.

This loss was a historic low point for Boston. It snapped their 10-game playoff winning streak and shattered their hopes of becoming the first team to win both Conference Finals and Finals in 4-0 sweeps.

  • Unprecedented Success Halted: The Celtics were riding high on a 10-game playoff winning streak, the longest in franchise history. This streak embodied their dominance throughout the postseason, leaving opponents in their wake. However, the Mavericks exposed their weaknesses and snapped this historic run, leaving a bitter taste in the Celtics’ mouths.
  • A Reality Check: The winning streak have instilled a sense of invincibility within the Celtics. This loss served as a harsh reminder that no team is unbeatable. The Mavericks exploited their complacency and forced them to confront their shortcomings.
  • A Unique Opportunity Lost: The Celtics had a unique opportunity to etch their names in NBA history. A win in Game 4 would have made them the first team ever to win both the Conference Finals and the NBA Finals in four-game sweeps. This chance to achieve basketball immortality vanished with the final buzzer.
  • Deflated Morale: The Celtics might have entered the game with visions of hoisting the championship trophy. However, this defeat undoubtedly caused a significant blow to their morale. They now face the daunting task of regrouping and avoiding a potential series collapse.
  • Exposed Weaknesses: The blowout loss exposed weaknesses in the Celtics’ game plan and execution. Their defense, which had been a strength throughout the playoffs, was dismantled by the Mavericks’ aggressive approach. The offense, reliant on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, stagnated against a focused Dallas defense. These vulnerabilities will need to be addressed if they hope to bounce back and win the championship.
  • Questions about Coaching: Head coach Joe Mazzulla’s pre-game preparation and adjustments during the blowout might be scrutinized. The Celtics’ inability to respond to the Mavericks’ intensity raises questions about their adaptability and in-game strategy.

NBA FINALS GAME 4 MAVS CELTICS – Boston’s Reality Check

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla acknowledged that their preparation wasn’t enough to overcome the Mavericks’ desperation and focus. 

This loss serves as a reminder that even the best-laid plans can be disrupted in the face of a determined opponent.

  • Preparation vs. Execution: Coach Mazzulla’s transparency regarding the shortcomings of their preparation highlights the disconnect between planning and execution. While the Celtics might have strategized effectively, their inability to translate those plans into on-court success raises questions about adjustments and player buy-in. This admission opens the door for a team-wide discussion and reassessment of their approach.
  • Adaptability is Key: The NBA Finals are a chess match, and adjustments are crucial for success. Mazzulla acknowledging the ineffectiveness of their preparation suggests that the Celtics have been too rigid in their approach. The Mavericks’ desperation forced them to adapt and play outside their comfort zone, a quality the Celtics lacked in Game 4.
  • Underestimating the Power of Desperation: The Celtics have underestimated the power of a team facing elimination. The Mavericks’ desperation fueled their intensity, focus, and hustle, elements that were absent from the Celtics’ performance. This loss serves as a valuable lesson: never overlook a team’s fighting spirit, especially when their season is on the line.
  • Responding to Adversity: The Celtics entered Game 4 with a 3-0 series lead, a position of comfort that might have lulled them into a false sense of security. Facing adversity for the first time in the series, they struggled to respond. This highlights the importance of mental toughness and the ability to adjust one’s game when faced with unexpected challenges.

With the series shifting back to Boston, the Celtics have a critical opportunity to regroup and reassess their approach.

Mazzulla’s admission regarding preparation is a positive first step, as it opens the door for a team-wide evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses.

They’ll need to adapt their strategies, rediscover their defensive intensity, and develop a more resilient approach if they hope to overcome the newfound confidence of the Mavericks and claim the championship.

The Celtics’ historic low point in Game 4 serves as a valuable learning experience.

By acknowledging the shortcomings in their preparation and responding with a renewed sense of urgency, they can potentially turn the tide and regain control of the series.

Boston’s performance was riddled with errors. They had their lowest-scoring half in coach Mazzulla’s tenure and their largest halftime deficit ever in the Finals. 

Their struggles on both ends of the court ultimately led to the lopsided defeat.

  • Lowest Scoring Half Under Mazzulla: The Celtics’ offense looked sluggish and stagnant throughout the game, particularly in the first half. This resulted in their lowest-scoring half under Coach Mazzulla’s tenure. Open shots that normally fall weren’t finding the net, and the team struggled to generate any rhythm against the suffocating Dallas defense.
  • Turnovers and Poor Shot Selection: Uncharacteristic turnovers and questionable shot selection further hampered the Celtics’ offensive flow. These mistakes gifted the Mavericks easy scoring opportunities and fueled their transition game. The Celtics’ inability to take care of the ball and make smart offensive decisions proved costly.
  • Largest Halftime Deficit in Finals History: The Celtics’ defensive woes were just as concerning as their offensive struggles. Their usually stout defense, a cornerstone of their success throughout the playoffs, was dismantled by the Mavericks’ aggressive approach. Poor rotations, missed assignments, and a lack of intensity on the defensive end allowed the Mavericks to get easy baskets and build a commanding lead. This defensive breakdown resulted in the largest halftime deficit the Celtics have ever faced in the NBA Finals.
  • Perimeter Defense Exposed: The Mavericks exploited weaknesses in the Celtics’ perimeter defense throughout the game. Doncic, in particular, found himself open for scoring opportunities, and other Dallas guards were able to penetrate with ease. The Celtics’ inability to contain dribble penetration and close out on shooters proved detrimental to their defensive efforts.

The Celtics’ loss in Game 4 wasn’t solely attributable to individual mistakes. It was a collective failure on both ends of the court.

From missed shots and turnovers on offense to defensive lapses and a lack of intensity, the Celtics simply weren’t at their best.

This performance raises questions about their focus and preparation, especially considering their dominant run throughout the playoffs.

This historic defeat serves as a wake-up call for the Celtics. They now face the reality of a series that’s far from over.

With the series shifting back to Boston, they have a chance to regroup, address their shortcomings, and rediscover the defensive intensity and offensive efficiency that propelled them to a 3-0 series lead.

However, if they don’t learn from their mistakes and make the necessary adjustments, the Mavericks, fueled by newfound confidence, could very well steal home-court advantage and force a series comeback.


  • Steep Climb for Dallas: Despite the win, the Mavericks still face a daunting task. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the Finals. However, this victory keeps their championship hopes alive and forces the Celtics to refocus and prepare for a more determined Dallas team in Game 5.
  • Celtics Look to Regroup: The Celtics will need to regroup and rediscover their winning formula in Boston. They’ll be looking to bounce back from this humbling defeat and close out the series on their home court.

NBA FINALS GAME 4 MAVS CELTICS – Game 5: A Pivotal Matchup

The series now shifts back to Boston for a crucial Game 5. The Mavericks have momentum after their dominant performance, but the Celtics will be looking to regain control and close out the series on their homecourt.

This matchup promises to be an intense battle, with both teams fighting for their championship aspirations.


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