NBA Finals Film Study: How Celtics Held Mavs To 89 Points In G1, Doncic To 1 Assist

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, NBA News
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics took a 1-0 series lead in the 2024 NBA Finals using a 107-89 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic scored 30 points and added 10 rebounds but had only one assist. The team as a whole had nine assists.

Doncic often faced switching and aggressive help deeper on drives, along with stunts early on drives or late doubles. The goal at the point of attack was to stay straight up and not blitz to stay home on corner shooters and take away the rim roller in pick-and-roll.

“They mostly play one-on-one,” Doncic said of the Celtics’ defensive approach. “They send a lot of help. So that’s why.”

NBA FINALS & NEWS: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics Updates

Kyrie Irving was held to 12 points while shooting just 6 of 19 overall while missing five perimeter jumpers. He felt the team was funneling him to particular spots on the floor, often by keeping him off the 3-point line and away from clean finishes at the rim. He sees the need to be better about attacking off the catch.

“I think that they really rely on their great defensive ball pressure and one-on-one defenders. They funnel us into certain areas,” Irving said. “Even as I say that, they are relying on the one-on-one, every time I got an iso, there’s almost two, three people waiting for me to get in there. I have to catch the ball on a live dribble and just be aware of my opportunities.

“It’s uncharacteristic for us to have only nine assists. The ball has got to move a little bit more,” Irving explained. “And again, that starts with me just being able to push the pace, get us some easy opportunities, and just adjust to what they are throwing at us.”

NBA FINALS & NEWS: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics Updates

Doncic vows to be more aggressive in Game 2 in order to earlier set the tone given Dallas was contained to 20 points in the first quarter and faced a 17-point deficit entering the second period.

“I think just be a little bit more aggressive,” Doncic said. “I think we all came out for the game with little energy. So I think we have to be better with our energy, especially from the start.”

Watch my in-depth breakdown of how the Celtics contained the Mavericks in Game 1 in the embedded YouTube video below. Check out my full coverage, which includes press conferences and other content from the series.

If the Mavericks manage to tie the series 1-1 after Game 2, it will surely include improved offensive results.

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