NBA Finals: Celtics vs Mavs

Who wins?

  • Celtics in 4

    Votes: 22 5.0%
  • Celtics in 5

    Votes: 120 27.3%
  • Celtics in 6

    Votes: 222 50.6%
  • Celtics in 7

    Votes: 52 11.8%
  • Mavs in 4-5

    Votes: 3 0.7%
  • Mavs in 6-7

    Votes: 20 4.6%

  • Total voters
    439
  • Poll closed .

lars10

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Home court isn't what it used to be, but picking Celtics in 6 means picking the Celtics to win game 6 in Dallas. Generally speaking, it makes more sense to pick Celtics in 5 or 7 than 6.

There is a reason most knowledgable people tend to pick the home team to win in 5 if they have a legit advantage (I think the Celtics do in this case, though reasonable minds can differ).
The Cs often play better on the road.. and haven’t lost yet in these playoffs away. This team has barely lost two in a row all year.. losing 4 out of 7 just seems unlikely.
 

BigSoxFan

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Home court isn't what it used to be, but picking Celtics in 6 means picking the Celtics to win game 6 in Dallas. Generally speaking, it makes more sense to pick Celtics in 5 or 7 than 6.

There is a reason most knowledgable people tend to pick the home team to win in 5 if they have a legit advantage (I think the Celtics do in this case, though reasonable minds can differ).
I hear that but this team kicks ass on the road and is kind of meh at home in the playoffs. I don’t think home court matters much in this matchup. The Mavs just took 3 road games against the Wolves and the Celtics have been racking up road wins for a few years now.

Celtics in 5 feels like a very aggressive prediction, especially with KP’s uncertain status. Of course, they’re absolutely capable of winning in 5 but I wouldn’t bet on it.
 

radsoxfan

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I hear that but this team kicks ass on the road and is kind of meh at home in the playoffs. I don’t think home court matters much in this matchup. The Mavs just took 3 road games against the Wolves and the Celtics have been racking up road wins for a few years now.

Celtics in 5 feels like a very aggressive prediction, especially with KP’s uncertain status. Of course, they’re absolutely capable of winning in 5 but I wouldn’t bet on it.
That's fair, but unless you think home court is completely meaningless, I wouldn't pick the Celtics to win in 6. It's obviously possible, but 5 or 7 is more likely.

Similarly, I wouldn't pick the Mavs to win in 5 or 7. If you like the Mavs in this series, winning in 6 is most likely. They arent going to be the favorites to win in game 5 or game 7 on the road.

Captain Laddie posted the odds earlier. The Celtics most likely winning outcome is 4-1 and the Mavs most likely winning outcome is 4-2. This isn't an accident. Picking the Celtics in 5 isn't "aggressive", it's just mathematically the most likely way they will win.
 

BigSoxFan

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That's fair, but unless you think home court is completely meaningless, I wouldn't pick the Celtics to win in 6. It's obviously possible, but 5 or 7 is more likely.

Similarly, I wouldn't pick the Mavs to win in 5 or 7. If you like the Mavs in this series, winning in 6 is most likely. They arent going to be the favorites to win in game 5 or game 7 on the road.

Captain Laddie posted the odds earlier. The Celtics most likely winning outcome is 4-1 and the Mavs most likely winning outcome is 4-2. This isn't an accident. Picking the Celtics in 5 isn't "aggressive", it's just mathematically the most likely way they will win.
Yeah, I get the rationale, I just think that it will be hard for the Celtics to ice these guys in 5 without a fully operational KP. But believe me, if they are able to hold serve in the first 2 games, 5 becomes the most logical end point. But the skeptic in me predicts a split in Boston and long series.
 

riboflav

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Where do they put him, honest question? Does he try and cover Jaylen?
Honestly without thinking too much they’re sorta effed. Especially if KP is back. Holy god you have five three point shooters who can all pick and roll or pick and pop and several of them can still post up against bigger defenders. Efff. What do you do if you’re Dallas.

Now I’ll come in with caveats, I’ve seen Dallas play like maybe 9 games. In most I saw they cannot guard the corner three. Minn had a tremendous amount of open looks in the corner but only off of one action which is insanely bad defense unless you are guarding Minnesota (this is a current day no no). bUT that’s probably a choice they’ve made and they would change vs the Celtics.

So if Dallas is going to defend differently against the Celtics it probably starts with zone and I wonder if they try to mimic the Heat zone against them. This would work really well for them if KP is out.
 

riboflav

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There are no two buts about it, Luka can guard traditional posts. His strength and size and competitiveness is a problem. Get him on the perimeter and as Magic once said, now we talking.
 

Ed Hillel

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There are no two buts about it, Luka can guard traditional posts. His strength and size and competitiveness is a problem. Get him on the perimeter and as Magic once said, now we talking.
Everyone on Boston can shoot, so what choice does he really have?
 

riboflav

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Idk other than they play zone a lot
Like they hide him. He cannot be on the perimeter much. I saw the twolves blow by him at will out there but then they ran into problems . Do I finish against big help? Or kick to weak three point shooters?
 

riboflav

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So playing a lot of 23 zone prevents Luka from having to defend above the break on the perimeter. I’m guessing you can all see the problem for them however.
 

The Mort Report

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I can't remember which of the Cs games it was this season, but a red faced, visibly exhausted and exacerbated Luka at the end of the game who put up numbers but still got smoked is seared into my mind why I don't fear the Mavs
 
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ALiveH

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The Mavs steamrolled three very good teams in a fairly stacked western conference. They are playing great basketball. I get that the C's handled them pretty easily in the regular season and the C's are probably the worst matchup for them, because they have exactly the type of personnel that can contain Luka and Kyrie. But gotta respect the degree of difficulty in what the Mavs have already accomplished - just coming out of the western conference this year is basically as hard as winning the NBA championship in a normal year. So for that reason, I couldn't pick Cs in 4 or 5. I think it goes 6.
 

riboflav

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The Mavs steamrolled three very good teams in a fairly stacked western conference. They are playing great basketball. I get that the C's handled them pretty easily in the regular season and the C's are probably the worst matchup for them, because they have exactly the type of personnel that can contain Luka and Kyrie. But gotta respect the degree of difficulty in what the Mavs have already accomplished - just coming out of the western conference this year is basically as hard as winning the NBA championship in a normal year. So for that reason, I couldn't pick Cs in 4 or 5. I think it goes 6.
Of course, all respect to the Mavs. And, it wouldn't be surprising if they find a way to win.
 

Boston Brawler

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I’m saying C’s in 5. They drop game 4 in Dallas to a desperate home team with a favorable whistle. Celebrate at home.
 

nighthob

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I thought we frowned upon small sample size +/- in this place :)
I mean you were the one using the four game sample size, so it's all noise. But he's still a biblically shitty defender and Boston will hunt him on that end of the floor.
 

tims4wins

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I hear that but this team kicks ass on the road and is kind of meh at home in the playoffs. I don’t think home court matters much in this matchup. The Mavs just took 3 road games against the Wolves and the Celtics have been racking up road wins for a few years now.

Celtics in 5 feels like a very aggressive prediction, especially with KP’s uncertain status. Of course, they’re absolutely capable of winning in 5 but I wouldn’t bet on it.
If you’re talking the last several years then yes they’ve been meh at home, but their 6-2 record
this year would project to the 4th or so best home record in the league this year - and that’s all against playoff teams. The 2nd best home teams this year went 33-8 (.804) and the Celts are at .750.

I’d love to see the Celts sweep this thing and end it in Dallas, because it does feel fitting for the Jays to win it on the road, as much as I’d love a Garden party.
 

lexrageorge

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Dallas has beaten 3 very good teams to get to the Finals, including the teams with the 4th best (OKC) and best (T'Wolves) regular season defensive ratings. So, while I agree that neither Luka nor Kyrie are good defenders, it hasn't hurt them so far. Their opponents have certainly geared up to stop Doncic but did not come close to succeeding.

So I'm not willing to bet on the Celtics in 4 or 5. And no-way, no-how do I want to see a Game 7 against this crew, where the shooting variance demons could easily derail the Celtics title hopes. And I'll be legit concerned if KP is unable to come back and be effective in at least limited game action. So I'm voting for Celtics in 6, and definitely expect Dallas to really put rational fear into this board (as opposed to the irrational fear of the Miami Heat). And will both be massively disappointed but yet not totally shocked if Dallas were to pull this off.
 

NomarsFool

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I think the Celtics will win comfortably when they win (not saying blowouts, but 8-12 range leading most of the game) and the Mavs will win some nail biters. What makes me nervous is that in a single possession, iso type end of game situation, Dallas is better. Was it last season that Luka beat us twice on end of game contested three pointers? He’s just really good at that kind of stuff. So, the Celtics need to make sure they aren’t in that situation. So, expect the Mavs to win a game or two from that type of circumstance. Maybe they pick up a game or two from an unreal Luka or Kyrie game or a Tatum/Brown off night.
 

jsinger121

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The key to this series is shutting down Kyrie. Luka is going get his. If you can really limit Kyrie to pretty much under 20 a game as well as his play making ability it will turn Luka into his previous version which was a great stat padder on an average team.
 

lexrageorge

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I think the Celtics will win comfortably when they win (not saying blowouts, but 8-12 range leading most of the game) and the Mavs will win some nail biters. What makes me nervous is that in a single possession, iso type end of game situation, Dallas is better. Was it last season that Luka beat us twice on end of game contested three pointers? He’s just really good at that kind of stuff. So, the Celtics need to make sure they aren’t in that situation. So, expect the Mavs to win a game or two from that type of circumstance. Maybe they pick up a game or two from an unreal Luka or Kyrie game or a Tatum/Brown off night.
It was 2 seasons ago (Celtics swept the season series last year and again this year). The first time was in Dallas, and worth noting the Celtics starting 5 for that game, during a period that the Celtics were struggling to stay above 0.500:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/202111060DAL.html

The second game was one of the few that Boston lost during the stretch run that season, and the shooting variance demon bit Boston in the rear (24% from 3):

https://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/202203130BOS.html

But your overall point stands, in that Luka is one of those players that can hit that buzzer beater 3 against even the best defenses being geared to stop him. And Kyrie has a history of doing just that in the Finals. Definitely do not want a Game 7 against this crew.
 

Mooch

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I think the Mavs are going to have problems all over the court against the Celtics. Zinger/Al will draw out the Dallas rim protection and our wings will have a field day getting to the basket.

This really feels like Celtics in 5 but I do see a couple of games where Luka/Kyrie go nuclear and we miss some shots. Give me Cs in 6.
 

m0ckduck

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Dallas has beaten 3 very good teams to get to the Finals, including the teams with the 4th best (OKC) and best (T'Wolves) regular season defensive ratings. So, while I agree that neither Luka nor Kyrie are good defenders, it hasn't hurt them so far. Their opponents have certainly geared up to stop Doncic but did not come close to succeeding.

So I'm not willing to bet on the Celtics in 4 or 5. And no-way, no-how do I want to see a Game 7 against this crew, where the shooting variance demons could easily derail the Celtics title hopes. And I'll be legit concerned if KP is unable to come back and be effective in at least limited game action. So I'm voting for Celtics in 6, and definitely expect Dallas to really put rational fear into this board (as opposed to the irrational fear of the Miami Heat). And will both be massively disappointed but yet not totally shocked if Dallas were to pull this off.
I'm also in the "Celtics in 6" crowd.

To the bolded: I posted this elsewhere, but I think it offers a good reframing of where we are vis-a-vis elite teams...

Team point differential ince Feb 5th, when Mavs began their 24-9 run to close the regular season:

1. Boston +448
2. Minnesota +218
3. Denver +217
4. Dallas +209
6. Thunder +206

If you look at just the last month of the regular season, when Dallas had their new acquisitions integrated, they fall back to #10 and Indiana (interestingly) is #2 behind Boston.

In both samples, though, Dallas / Minnesota / Denver / OKC are pretty tightly grouped, which is how I interpret what we just saw in the playoffs: four pretty equal teams, but where Dallas (to their credit: ) benefitted by advancing more easily through the second round and facing a T-Wolves team that had shot its wad in beating Denver. Boston levitates over all four in any sample size. Doesn't guarantee we'll win, but I don't see a reason to favor Dallas outside of intangibles-type arguments and KP health concerns.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Just need to run their offense and not get sucked into an iso-battle with Kyrie and Luka. Yeah you want to attack them but do it with ball movement and quick decisions.

Luka is stout and Kyrie is a very handsy defender you’re not going to be able to just own them 1v1 as much as you might want or think. But Cs have been handling Tatum doubles extremely well (certainly better than Minny did) and I’m confident they can keep getting open looks all over the floor.
 

brendan f

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The key to this series is shutting down Kyrie. Luka is going get his. If you can really limit Kyrie to pretty much under 20 a game as well as his play making ability it will turn Luka into his previous version which was a great stat padder on an average team.
Disagree. The key is Jrue/Brown guarding Luka 1 on 1. If he can do that it will limit Luka as a passer, which is when he is really lethal. Obviously you are going to need help but this to me is the main match-up.
 

m0ckduck

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Thanks. I hate it.

I wish we could whitewash him out of Celtics history.
I had a morbid fantasy about turning on G1 of the Finals and magically finding Kyrie back on Boston and KP on Dallas— would I be able to summon a rooting interest in the Celtics?
 

jsinger121

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Disagree. The key is Jrue guarding Luka 1 on 1. If he can do that it will limit Luka as a passer, which is when he is really lethal.
Luka had a triple double of 37 points 12 rebounds 11 assists in his last game against Boston and the Celtics won by 28 points. They limited Kyrie to 19 points and under 40% from the field. The fact is you don’t want Dallas doing what they did last night with Luka and Kyrie. It’s a lot easier for Luka to score points than it is for Kyrie IMO.
 

Steve Dillard

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Mavs in 3.

(Steeling myself for the "we should win" standard that makes a loss crushing, like the Miami ECF last year).
 

lars10

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Honestly without thinking too much they’re sorta effed. Especially if KP is back. Holy god you have five three point shooters who can all pick and roll or pick and pop and several of them can still post up against bigger defenders. Efff. What do you do if you’re Dallas.

Now I’ll come in with caveats, I’ve seen Dallas play like maybe 9 games. In most I saw they cannot guard the corner three. Minn had a tremendous amount of open looks in the corner but only off of one action which is insanely bad defense unless you are guarding Minnesota (this is a current day no no). bUT that’s probably a choice they’ve made and they would change vs the Celtics.

So if Dallas is going to defend differently against the Celtics it probably starts with zone and I wonder if they try to mimic the Heat zone against them. This would work really well for them if KP is out.
Luka can’t close out.. he’s not fast enough.. so that’s why he cheats into the lane to try and stop drives. I don’t think Dallas can just change their D in a week.

outside of Luka and Irving.. Dallas seems to have two three point shooters I think? And several very tall guys that hover near the lane waiting for lobs or rebounds.. they need Luka to be huge on offense.. but I just don’t see where they have enough shooting to keep up consistently with Boston.

I don’t know if it was there D or if KAT and Ant just basically disappeared against them. I don’t think there D is more aggressive or more physical than Miami or Indy. In these Minn games I just saw a very limited offensive team that wasn’t ready to go against a taller team.. but also just didn’t have basically any scoring beyond KAT and Ant.. and they both looked well below Tatum and Brown in terms of aggressiveness. They don’t have all the other options Boston does.

Beyond that.. Minn’s coaching was just weird.. they regularly sat their two best players together.. even last night.. it made no sense.

looking forward to this series.. if Dallas doesn’t significantly change their D.. they’re going to have the problem.
 

NoXInNixon

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This will be the first time a Boston team and a Dallas team will play each other for a championship in any of the big four sports.

Win it for Michelle Wu. Celts in 5.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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That's fair, but unless you think home court is completely meaningless, I wouldn't pick the Celtics to win in 6. It's obviously possible, but 5 or 7 is more likely.

Similarly, I wouldn't pick the Mavs to win in 5 or 7. If you like the Mavs in this series, winning in 6 is most likely. They arent going to be the favorites to win in game 5 or game 7 on the road.

Captain Laddie posted the odds earlier. The Celtics most likely winning outcome is 4-1 and the Mavs most likely winning outcome is 4-2. This isn't an accident. Picking the Celtics in 5 isn't "aggressive", it's just mathematically the most likely way they will win.
Your logic generally makes sense but BOS has been playing better on the road than at home. I could definitely see BOS splitting first four and then winning two straight. And I picked BOS in 6.


The Mavs steamrolled three very good teams in a fairly stacked western conference. They are playing great basketball. I get that the C's handled them pretty easily in the regular season and the C's are probably the worst matchup for them, because they have exactly the type of personnel that can contain Luka and Kyrie. But gotta respect the degree of difficulty in what the Mavs have already accomplished - just coming out of the western conference this year is basically as hard as winning the NBA championship in a normal year. So for that reason, I couldn't pick Cs in 4 or 5. I think it goes 6.
Not sure that I would call the LAC series - without Kawhi - "steamrolled". I only watched a couple of games of that series but from what I saw, DAL struggled at times guarding PG and Harden, and JT/JB are better than those two plus have more help around them.

My one hope is that this is the series where it becomes obvious to everyone who is paying attention that having guys who play defense is better than guys who don't.
 

InstaFace

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Team point differential (s)ince Feb 5th, when Mavs began their 24-9 run to close the regular season:
In that same span of time - last 33 games, 2/4 to end of season - the Celtics were 27-6. Consecutive runs of 11 W, 2 L, 9 W, 2 L, 5 W, 2 L, 2 W.

Now, 2 of the Mavs' losses were the last 2 games, when they were resting / losing for seeding. But anyone talking about how well they were playing down the stretch has to contend with the fact that the Celtics were playing at least as well, possibly better. Which I think was your point.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Disagree. The key is Jrue/Brown guarding Luka 1 on 1. If he can do that it will limit Luka as a passer, which is when he is really lethal. Obviously you are going to need help but this to me is the main match-up.
Everyone on BOS will get a chance guarding Luka. They will switch every screen and in doing so, will try to keep Luka in front of them. Doing that will limit the lobs and the open corner 3Ps for Washington and Jones Jr.

MIN lost IMO because they gave up a lot of corner 3Ps plus live-ball TOs/missed layups that went for easy transition buckets. If BOS can limit those, I think they will be in very good shape.

Luka can’t close out.. he’s not fast enough.. so that’s why he cheats into the lane to try and stop drives. I don’t think Dallas can just change their D in a week.
This. The fact that Luka is playing some passable defense either in the paint or when he has help on the perimeter does not mean that he's going to be making multiple defensive efforts as the ball moves around the court. In past games, BOS has found a lot of open shots. Don't see how that's changing.
 

DJnVa

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The Mavs steamrolled three very good teams in a fairly stacked western conference.
Maybe the West wasn't as good as everyone thought. OKC and Minny are good, but not battle tested. Maybe these regular season teams just weren't good postseason squads.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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Celtics in 5. Luka will get his but Celtics have the personnel to make life really difficult for Kyrie. After that who beats you? PJ Washington? On the other end I don't see how Dallas can effectively guard five out.

In a way they remind me of the 2022 Nets. Kyrie/KD/Claxton vs. Kyrie/Luka/Gafford/Lively then JAGs on the wing and on the bench. Celtics can handle them.
 

BaseballJones

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Feels like with a semi healthy KP, this series should be Celtics in 5.

I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. But I think we are genuinely better than the Mavs.

Kyrie and Fat Luka beating us with a bunch of kind of mediocre role players would be pretty devastating.
Well, Kyrie and Luka are both going to easily be in the Hall of Fame, and that's more guaranteed HOFers than Boston has (Tatum will get there, and I hope Brown will, but I'm not sure about that). One HOF and a better supporting cast often loses to two HOFers. Especially if (as national media would have you believe) the best of the three sure-fire HOFers in the series is on Dallas.
 

astrozombie

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I went Celtics in 6, mostly because I think they will get one of those shooting variance losses in their two losses this postseason where they go cold and the other team can't miss. I also expect a game where Kyrie or Luka goes off for like 50 points and our bigs can't stop their bigs, leading to a close loss.
What I would love to see in Game 1 is a reasonably healthy KP shaking off rust and JB hunting/abusing Luka on the defensive end to set the tone for the whole series.
 

jsinger121

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Maybe the West wasn't as good as everyone thought. OKC and Minny are good, but not battle tested. Maybe these regular season teams just weren't good postseason squads.
I wasn’t that impressed with their path. The Clippers are a notorious postseason failure and that was predictable no matter if Leonard was healthy or not. Both OKC and Minnesota are in the knocking stage which is what NBA teams notoriously have to go through before they can become champions.
 

chilidawg

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Run the offense, push tempo. Gotta move the ball so Gafford and Lively get pulled out of the middle chasing shooters. TWolves offense was so bad it was hard to tell how much was good D by the Mavs, but their interior defense looked great to me. I don't think Irving and Doncic are quite the sieves they're being made out to be, and the rest of the team can really defend.

Gonna need top level Tatum (move the ball, push tempo Jayson!) and healthy KP.
 

Ed Hillel

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I should mention that I think Boston/the fans breaking Kyrie mentally and Boston winning in 5 is on the table. He was terrible in that March game.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I should mention that I think Boston/the fans breaking Kyrie mentally and Boston winning in 5 is on the table. He was terrible in that March game.
This is mostly me wishcasting but there is a non-zero chance Weird Kyrie returns and decides that it’s simply JB and JT’s time and his PC after the series will heavily suggest that he is responsible for preparing them to be champions.
 

InstaFace

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Honestly without thinking too much they’re sorta effed. Especially if KP is back. Holy god you have five three point shooters who can all pick and roll or pick and pop and several of them can still post up against bigger defenders. Efff. What do you do if you’re Dallas.

Now I’ll come in with caveats, I’ve seen Dallas play like maybe 9 games. In most I saw they cannot guard the corner three. Minn had a tremendous amount of open looks in the corner but only off of one action which is insanely bad defense unless you are guarding Minnesota (this is a current day no no). bUT that’s probably a choice they’ve made and they would change vs the Celtics.

So if Dallas is going to defend differently against the Celtics it probably starts with zone and I wonder if they try to mimic the Heat zone against them. This would work really well for them if KP is out.
IIRC, Al's passing really shredded the Miami zone. Major difference from last few years is that everyone he's passing to is a 3 point threat and many are driving threats too. It's different than KP being a threat to turn around and take free throw line jumpers, but either way we now have multiple solutions to that problem.