Celtics Take 2-0 Lead in the NBA Finals

The Boston Celtics are two wins away from winning an NBA-record 18th title. Following a comfortable victory in Game 1, Sunday night’s Game 2 against the Dallas Mavericks was a more competitive affair.

Boston did what elite teams are expected to do — win at home. The Celtics overcame another poor game from star Jayson Tatum. While his final numbers — 18 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds — Tatum struggled for the second game in a row and appeared to be out of sorts offensively. After shooting 6-of-16 in Game 1, Tatum finished Game 2 6-of-22. Luckily for the Celtics, Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown played very well.

In addition to playing stifling defense, Holiday was electric offensively. The veteran guard scored 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting and snagged 11 rebounds. Brown followed up a great showing in the opener with a 21-point effort. On the other sideline, Luka Doncic posted 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the Mavs. His co-star, Kyrie Irving, had a second poor game in a row. Irving shot 7-of-18 and finished with 16 points — the second game in a row he has had more shot attempts than points.

“A lot of shots were hitting the back rim,” said Irving. “That could piss you off as a competitor, but it’s all part of the game of basketball. And you have to accept the ups and downs of this. That’s, I would say, the toughest challenge when you’re in a series. You want to play extremely well, especially when you’re playing in a Finals. A little disappointed in myself not being able to convert a lot more on my opportunities that I have in the lane. Obviously, I’m going against Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown a few times, but I feel like I have the upper edge on certain possessions where I’ve just got to convert.”

One thing to watch before Wednesday’s Game 3 is the health of Boston’s Kristaps Porzingis. The star forward appeared to tweak his right leg — the same leg that caused him to miss two rounds of the playoffs — in the fourth quarter and is expected to get imaging done before Game 3.

“I’ll die out there if we need, so I just kept going,” Porzingis said. “But obviously I was a little bit limited, so the smart thing was to get Al [Horford] back in there and close out the game. I feel good. Obviously something happened a little bit, but I have a couple days [to get ready] again, and believe me, we’ll do everything we can to be back and moving.”