Boston Handles Business, Takes 2-0 Lead Over Mavs

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BOSTON — The Celtics defeated the Mavericks, 105-98, in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Sunday night.

With the victory, Boston takes a 2-0 series lead over Dallas.

Check out the full box score here.

ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd took a suspicious, and seemingly calculated, approach to dividing Boston’s locker room when labeling Jaylen Brown the team’s “best player,” directing discourse toward that comment.

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Turning the attention away from Dallas, which laid an egg in Game 1, to the Celtics, begged a few questions: Would Kidd’s comments matter? Would Jayson Tatum be affected after struggling in Game 1? Would it grant the Mavericks a mind-trick victory allowing them to even up the series?

No, no, and no.

Dallas found significantly more success, avoiding a double-digit drought in the first half — Boston’s largest lead before the third quarter was five points. The Celtics had no problem generating high-efficient 3-point opportunities. Yet, despite shooting a slugging, ice-cold 3-for-15 (20%) in the first half, Boston still hung around just enough to patiently keep the Mavericks at bay.

Tatum’s shooting struggles continued, but the 26-year-old found other ways to contribute, drawing three free-throw opportunities in his first four shot attempts. Boston’s star got everyone else involved, racking up 12 assists to keep the offensive pressure applied on Dallas by any means.

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The Celtics guarded Kyrie Irving well, again, holding Boston’s No. 1 enemy to 16 points on 7-for-18 shooting, including a 2-for-8 stretch in the second half.

Two wins down and two left to go for the Celtics until the TD Garden rafters need to make room.

STARS OF THE GAME
— Jrue Holiday took a veteran’s step forward for the Celtics, scoring a team-leading 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting with 11 rebounds, a steal and a block.

— Luka Doncic notched a tripe-double, scoring 32 points with 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but did also commit a game-high eight turnovers.

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— Tatum’s 18 points came with 12 assists, nine rebounds and two steals, facilitating to keep Dallas on its toes throughout the night.

UP NEXT
The Celtics, now two wins away from crossing the finish line, head out to Dallas where they can finish the job instead on the road. Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday and tip off from American Airlines Center is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.

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