2024 NBA Finals: Celtics dominate Mavericks in Game 1 win as Kristaps Porziņģis shines in return

Thanks to a huge return from Kristaps Porziņģis, the Celtics claimed a huge 107-89 win over the Mavericks in Game 1

The Boston Celtics, behind a huge return from Kristaps Porziņģis, made a statement early in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics, who broke open a 29-point lead in the first half, cruised to a dominant 107-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night at TD Garden. The Celtics have now won eight straight games, and they've won every Game 1 they've played this postseason.

Luka Dončić and the Mavericks, on the other hand, are now playing from behind in the franchise's first NBA Finals appearance since it won the championship with Dirk Nowitzki in 2011. The Mavs had won five straight road games entering Thursday night, too.

Porziņģis missed Boston’s last 10 games with a calf injury he first sustained in its opening-round series against the Miami Heat.

But after coming off the bench for just the second time in his career, he immediately made up for lost time. Porziņģis put up eight points early in the first quarter, including a huge early dunk after he blew past Dereck Lively II and a bucket in the face of Josh Green. That put the Celtics up by double digits and forced an early Mavericks timeout in the first period.

He then came out of the timeout, drilled a very deep 3-pointer and immediately came up with a block on the other end to set up another 3-pointer for the Celtics. Just like that, after a 23-5 run, the Celtics were up by 17 points. That marked the largest lead after the first quarter in a Game 1 in NBA Finals history.

Porziņģis and the Celtics kept it going in the second quarter and easily took a 21-point lead into the locker room at the break. They opened the second quarter on a 21-11 run, took a brief 29-point lead and made 11 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes. Porziņģis had 18 points and shot 7-of-9 from the field in the first half. The Mavericks, on the other hand, went just 3-of-13 from the 3-point line.

Despite the huge deficit early, Dallas started cutting away at Boston’s lead slowly in the third quarter. Then, after a few huge buckets from Kyrie Irving and a clutch 3-pointer from Dončić to cap a 20-6 run, it was suddenly an eight-point game.

That, however, was as close as Dallas got. Boston rallied immediately out of a timeout and ended the period on a 14-2 burst. That gave the Celtics a 20-point lead once again, which was more than enough to push them to the eventual 18-point win.

Porziņģis finished with 20 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. Jaylen Brown led the way with 22 points while shooting 7-of-12 from the field, and Jayson Tatum finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, although he did have six turnovers. The Celtics set an NBA Finals record, too, with seven different players making multiple shots from behind the arc.

Dončić finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mavericks. He shot just 4-of-12 from behind the arc, and he accounted for all but three of Dallas' made 3-pointers. P.J. Washington added 14 points and eight rebounds, and Irving finished with 12 points. The Mavs' 89 points were the fewest points they've scored this postseason. They only had nine assists as a unit, too. The Celtics, by comparison, had 23 assists and nine blocks.

Though it's still early — Dončić and Irving are more than capable of keeping the Mavericks in it — the Celtics look like a team poised to run to what would be their 18th championship in franchise history. Sunday's Game 2 isn't a must-win for Dallas by any means, but the Mavericks will need to at least keep it close before the series heads to Texas. Otherwise, things could get out of hand quickly.

  • Game 2 set for Sunday night

    The two teams will run it back on Sunday night in Boston, where the Celtics will attempt to take a 2-0 series lead over the Mavericks.

    Though this isn't a must-win for Dallas by any means, a second blowout at this point could mean we're in for a quick series this summer.

  • Final: Celtics 107, Mavericks 89

    Though things got close for a brief moment in the second half, the Celtics have taken a 1-0 series lead over the Mavericks. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 22 points, and Kristaps Porzingis dropped 20 in his return.

    Luka Dončić led all scorers with 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks.

  • Celtics set record, sharing the wealth from the 3-point line

  • It’s been all Celtics, all night

    Aside from a quick burst at the beginning of the third quarter, the Celtics have been in complete control of the game from the opening tap. Eight Celtics have played, and with 4:57 left in the game six of them are in double digits.

    • Jaylen Brown: 22 points

    • Kristaps Porzingis: 20 points

    • Jayson Tatum: 15 points

    • Derrick White: 15 points

    • Jrue Holiday: 12 points

    • Al Horford: 10 points

    As a team, Boston is shooting 48% from the floor and 39% from three. A complete team effort on the offensive end of the floor to go along with holding Kyrie Irving to just 12 points.

  • Celtics still hitting 3's

    Still just 1-of-11 for non-Luka Mavericks from distance, and Doncic has missed his last four attempts from outside as well. 5-of-23 as a team from beyond the arc. Celtics with 15-of-40 from deep have almost made as many as the Mavericks have missed (18) with eight minutes left.

  • Bad signs for Dallas

    Make that a 14-0 run. Dallas is struggling to create offense with Luka on the bench, and Kyrie cannot seem to find windows in the paint or connect from deep. Dallas' two vaunted guards have combined for three assists.

  • Kyrie Irving struggling

    Kyrie Irving's ineffectiveness has really stood out as the Celtics rebuilt this lead into a 20-plus-point advantage. He was spooked by Porzingis on one drive and traveled on a step-back. Just 6-of-19 and 0-5 from 3 through three quarters with 3 turnovers.

  • Celtics step it up on D

    Boston's defense has been stifling on this 11-0 run to get the lead back to 19. Jaylen Brown with big blocks. Jrue Holiday had switched onto Doncic before this latest break for him for the last minute of the 3Q.

  • Jaylen Brown Block Party

    The Celtics' star has been making highlight plays on the defensive end of the floor in Game 1.

  • Luka needs help

    Non-Luka 3’s: 1-of-10. That’s not optimal production for the Mavs, especially when the Celtics don’t mind you taking 3’s

  • Celtics regain control

    After Luka Doncic's rangy 3-pointer cut Boston's 29-point lead to 72-64 midway through the third quarter, Boston responds with an 8-0 run — with help from some light fouls from Dereck Lively II — capped by a Jayson Tatum 3-pointer. Tatum is up to 13-8-5, and the Celtics look to close the third better than the last quarter.

  • Mavs cut lead to single digits

    Well, well, well ... the game isn't over just yet. A Luka Dončić 3 with 4:39 to go in the third quarter has cut the Celtics lead to just eight points at 72-64. Dončić has 27 points in the game and 10 in the quarter to get the Mavs back in it. While Dallas is having trouble moving the ball on the offensive end — just five assists on 27 made baskets, Dončić is keeping them connected as Kyrie Irving struggles from the field 12 points on 6-of-16 from the floor.

  • Mavs make it a game

    This building has grown pretty quiet and angsty as Luka Doncic comes out scorching from deep. Dallas has cut this all the way down to 8 in less than 8 minutes, and 10 points have come from the Mavericks' All-NBA superstar.

  • Dallas showing some life early in the second half

    After trailing by as much as 29 in the first half, the Mavericks have started the second half with some purpose, cutting the 21-point lead at the break to 16 with 7:42 to go in the third quarter. A couple of Kyrie Irving baskets and two Celtics turnovers have helped steady the ship for the Mavs, who'll need to go on a run to get back in the game heading into the 4th quarter.

  • Luka gets going

    Luka had more bounce in his legs and aggression hunting his own shot in the last minutes of the first half to finish with 17 points. Can that carry over? This is a team that overcame an 18-point third-quarter deficit in Game 6 against OKC …

  • Kristaps Porzingis leading the way with 18 points off the bench

    How's that for coming back from injury? Eighteen points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor — including a couple of 3s — to go along with 2 blocks and 3 rebounds. Not a bad return to action after missing more than a month with a calf strain.

  • The 3-point difference

    This is how the Celtics are designed, with 3-point shooting being their bread and butter, but a 24-point differential from distance (10-of-24 to Dallas' 2-of-12) is the bulk of Boston's 27-point edge right now.

  • Jaylen Brown rises UP

    Daniel Gafford, welcome to your Kodak moment.

  • Boston is rolling

    The Celtics are just overwhelming the Mavs now. Luka can’t get the ball upcourt. It’s looking like a blowout. More turnovers and a 29-point lead for Boston.

  • Porzingis too much so far

    Porzingis is the one guy Dallas cannot game plan for. His size is too much for the Mavs wings and his length at the rim disrupts Kyrie and Luka. Porzingis has 15 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks off the bench at 6:29 of the second quarter.

  • Sam Hauser contributing

    Good Sam Hauser minutes. He forced a turnover on Luka, a Kyrie brick from the corner and cashed his first two threes (one from each corner).

  • Celtics' 17-point lead the largest ever at the end of the first quarter in an NBA Finals game

  • Porzingis making presence felt

    Porzingis stays in for a five-minute stretch, scores eight points on four shots — three over smaller defenders in the mid-range — and forces a timeout from Mavericks coach Jason Kidd with 2:20 remaining in the opening quarter. Boston leads, 28-16.

  • Luka Doncic sluggish early

    Luka Doncic is either exhausted or hurting. He just checked out with 3:09 to play in the first, went right to end of the bench, grabbed a white towel and is hunched over. Was very slow to get back on defense on the last few possession changes before subbing out.

  • Kyrie Irving gets on the highlight reel early

    You know he's one of the most skilled players on the planet and he's good for hitting circus shots all the time. Kyrie will be lots of fun to watch in these Finals, if the shotmaking is going to be this good.

  • An easy deuce off a steal for Jaylen Brown

    Jaylen Brown, who was the MVP of the Eastern Conference finals, got the Boston crowd into it early with a breakaway jam.

  • Jayson Tatum hasn’t taken a single shot yet through 5 minutes of play. Not ideal.

  • Slow start for Porzingis

    Whether it was Jaylen Brown leading him too far or Kristaps Porzingis rolling too slowly, the Celtics’ center couldn’t handle his very first pass out of the pick-and-roll after not playing since April 29.

  • Kristaps Porziņģis is in the game

    Kristaps Porziņģis checks into the game to a massive ovation at 4:43 into the first quarter. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said prior to the game that Porziņģis is not under a minutes restriction.

  • Luka gets on the board early in Game 1

  • Tip-off is next

    The national anthem and Bill Walton tributes are complete, and tip-off is just moments away. Every game is critical in a Finals series, but Game 1 so often sets the tone for the entire series. Per Land of Basketball, teams that win Game 1 of the Finals go on to win the series more than 70% of the time.

    The Celtics won Game 1 of each of their three series in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Mavericks on the other hand, lost Game 1 to the Clippers in the first round and Game 1 to the Thunder in the second round. The Mavs have started all four series on the road. Only one team seeded lower than 4 — the Mavs are the 5-seed — has ever won the NBA championship, the 1995 Houston Rockets as a 6-seed.

  • Early boos for Kyrie

    As Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving is introduced prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals, he is met with a considerable amount of boos from the TD Garden crowd in Boston. Nothing more than the usual amount of animus for a bitter rival. We will see if it gets nastier as the game gets under way.

  • A lot on the line for Luka Dončić

    Prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd — a member of the NBA’s 75th anniversary team — said both Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving are “a little bit more gifted than I am.” Kidd told reporters this week that Dončić would be considered the greatest Maverick in history if he were to win the championship. High praise from an all-time great.

  • Porzingis takes the floor to a huge applause

    The Unicorn got the Boston crowd excited when he took the floor for warmups ahead of his first ever NBA Finals, which is against his former team. He also said hello to legendary Manchester City and Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.

  • Starting lineups for tonight's Game 1

    Kristaps Porzingis will be coming off the bench tonight for Boston. He started all 57 games he played in during the regular season and each of the four games he played in the first round against Miami.

  • Players to warm up in Walton shooting shirts

    In addition to honoring him with pins handed out in TD Garden, the Celtics will warm up in "WALTON" shirts before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, commissioner Adam Silver announced before the game.

  • Porzingis back in the lineup for the Celtics for Game 1

    The Celtics get a major offensive weapon back with the return of Kristaps Porzingis to the lineup after he missed all of the past two rounds with a calf injury. He did play in the first round against the Miami Heat, averaging just over 12 points per game, but he was a major contributor to the Celtics attack in the regular season as part of Boston's trio of 20-point scorers along with All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

  • Luka Dončić nursing injuries heading into Game 1

    It was never in doubt that he'd play, but Luka Dončić does enter his first NBA Finals a little banged up. Per the Mavs, he's dealing with a right knee sprain and some left ankle soreness.

    The bumps and bruises didn't seem to bother him too much in the Western Conference finals — a series he was named the MVP of after five brilliant performances.

  • Celtics to hand out Walton pins

    While the Boston Celtics are celebrating being back in the NBA Finals, the team — and NBA family — are still remembering Hall of Famer Bill Walton, who died May 27 after a battle with cancer. To honor him tonight, the Celtics are passing out Walton pins with a tie-dye pattern to memorialize the legend who helped the Celtics to an NBA championship in 1986.

  • The 2024 NBA Finals are here

    The stars are arriving at TD Garden ahead of Game 1 of the Finals.