Even on a bad night, the Boston Celtics still wouldnt be denied a win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the NBA Finals at the TD Garden last Sunday (yesterday morning Manila time). The Celts were outshot from the field, .452 to .475, had two less rebounds, hit eight less points in the paint and Jayson Tatum went 1-of-7 from beyond the arc but managed to beat the Mavs, 105-98.

Its defense thats lifted Boston to a 14-2 record in the playoffs, holding opponents to an average of 98.3 points in wins. In Game One against Dallas, the Mavs were limited to 89. Boston is 6-0 on the road in the post-season while Dallas is 5-3 at home. If the Celtics preserve their unblemished road record in the next two games in Dallas, theyll clinch the championship in a sweep.

The Mavs blew a golden opportunity to steal Game Two. With 50 seconds left and Boston ahead 103-98, the Mavs broke loose in transition and PJ Washington elevated for a layup but was blocked by Derrick White. If Washington had converted, Bostons lead wouldve gone down to three and if a foul was called, he couldve had the chance to complete a three-point play to trim the gap to two. Instead, the Celtics got the ball back and Jaylen Brown sank a driving layup to close out the scoring. The Mavs improved their passing from nine assists in Game One to 21 in Game Two and Luka Doncic registered a triple double. Yet the Celtics won even as Tatum, who averaged 26.9 points in the regular season, shot 18 in his second straight contest hitting less than 20. He had scored over 20 in eight outings in a row before Game One.

A sweep wouldnt be a surprise for the Celtics whose last title came in 2008. Theyre coming off a 4-0 disposal of Indiana so momentum is clearly on their side. Dallas hasnt beaten Boston this season and unless coach Jason Kidd comes up with adjustments to break down the Celticsdefense, the Mavs could finish like the Pacers in the dust pan.

Kyrie Irving has been the big disappointment for the Mavs. Before the Finals, Irving averaged 22.8 points in the playoffs. But in two contests in Boston where the hometown fans love to show their hate towards him, hes scoring a timid 14 a game with a 0-of-8 three-point mark. Ever since Irving left Boston to move to Brooklyn and later to Dallas, hes been Public Enemy No. 1 at the TD Garden. With boos reverberating in every corner of the Boston venue, Irving is obviously distracted. His redemption may come before the Dallas fans in Game Three.

Bostons 7-2 unicorn Kristaps Porzingis appeared to be hurt late in Game Two and the word is his left calf was banged up. Hed missed 10 games in the playoffs with a right calf strain but returned to come off the bench in the Finals. If hes rested in Game Three, it would open the doors for the Mavsbigs Daniel Gafford, Dereck Lively, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell to flex their muscles. Whats scary for Dallas is Tatum hasnt played his best yet and the Celtics are 2-0. If Tatum delivers his usual numbers in Game Three, it could mean a win away from the crown for Boston.

2024-06-10T16:37:12Z dg43tfdfdgfd