NBA Insider Details Two Big ‘What Ifs’ From Celtics-Mavericks NBA Finals

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The Boston Celtics flat out dominated in 2023-24.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about training camp, the preseason, the regular season, playoffs or the NBA Finals. Boston crushed its opponents at an 80% clip, etching a place among the league’s best-ever teams.

Who wants to talk about greatness, though?

ESPN doesn’t seem to, as a good chunk of Tuesday’s episode of “First Take” was dedicated to eulogizing Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks’ surprisingly solid season. The Celtics had finally captured Banner 18 just eight ours earlier, and all Stephen A. Smith wanted to do was dump all over Irving for his performances in Boston, while Brian Windhorst played the “What if?” game as it related to Dallas’ chances in the series.

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“What if Luka (Doncic) doesn’t foul out of Game 3?” Windhorst asked. “… What if it wasn’t the Celtics that the Mavericks were playing? What if it was the Bucks?”

In the immortal words of Jayson Tatum (who stole them from Kanye West): I guess we’ll never know.

It’s a disingenuous task trying to find reasons why the series could have been closer, should have been closer. The Celtics, much like they have all season, built an early lead against the Mavericks and eventually stepped on their throats — perhaps after letting go of the rope for a split second.

Boston was in the Finals. Doncic did foul out. The Celtics are the best team in the NBA, and brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to its unofficial home.

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