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 .

Caspir

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Home crowd will help a lot. They just couldn’t hit anything against a desperate team, and it’s the NBA so a sweep is always unlikely, even if you’re superior.

One interesting subplot is that I think Tatum can grab MVP over Brown if he leads them to victory Monday night. He’s tailored his game to the needs of the team, but being the leading scorer in a clincher after getting spanked would give him an edge imo.
 

riboflav

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Some possible offensive adjustments for the Celtics:

1. Blindside cuts, or weak side cuts from the 45. Dallas defenders two passes away tend to turn their backs to their assignments and when the Celtics get the ball inside the arc, the opposite wing has a blind cut to the rim available. Some call these Villanova cuts bc Jay Wright liked to invert his offense by getting the ball to a guard (think: Jrue) in the mid post and having the weak side 45 cut.

2. Move Jrue to the weak side dunker spot instead of having him always on the strong side (like they normally do) and allow him to roam to the opposite deep corner on drives.

3. Stop over passing. Dallas's rotations caught up well on the one-more pass but their closeouts one pass before that were not there. The Celtics passed up better looks from three for lesser ones.

4. Shallow penetration and kick it. It won't take much. Dallas is selling out to take away the paint. Just show and let it go.

5. On deep penetration, battle at the rim. Kicking out from there will be challenging.

6. Must hit more floaters and 7-8 footers. These are open.

7. Disguise drives. Cannot always attack with the same players against the same players. They were too predictable in game 4. This bleeds into the next point:

8. USE HORNS. Oh my we've barely seen it in The Finals and it's the most devastating set the Celtics run. It's more unpredictable and tougher for Dallas to get their defense loaded up the way they want with the personnel they want guarding certain actions. I'm sure Kidd prepped his team for this TWO weeks ago but bc the Celtics haven't shown it, now is the time to unleash it.
 
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riboflav

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Also, can I say that I think it's weird that some posters in the last 24 hours have declared that the teams are basically even talent/caliber because the Cs have no KP? I'm on record here saying that losing KP is a problem, even a big one. But, there is no question the Cs are still the better team even if the talent gap has shrunk too much for comfort.
 
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riboflav

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These two are the durable takeaways for me - without KP, Celtics need to rebound more as a team and did not. That's about Tillman, but also about Tatum, Brown, Jrue, White helping especially on defensive boards. That will impact how quickly we get it up court, and lack of offensive pace has helped Dallas defense all series. I just think the Tatum at 5 sets are too small for this opponent.

Celtics just don't have an answer size-wise - Kornet can play (and perhaps should) with Luka out but he'll be cooked with Luka hunting him. So it has to be about positioning and aggression from the guys out there. And I do think Tillman can do more - he has looked ok out there, and rebounding is an area he can contribute and will be needed if KP continues to be unavailable.

No rebounds, no rings.
They need all five on the glass on defense. Dallas seemed to abandon their 3/4 back strategy on their shots and are now crashing the glass. Frankly, it took Kidd long enough to figure this out. Of course, if you can grab the board and get a clean outlet you will have transition opportunities now unavailable to you in games one and two. And, the best outlet is probably a grab and go where the rebounder takes off with the ball to lead the break.
 

lars10

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Also, can I say that I think it's weird that some posters in the last 24 hours have declared that the teams are basically even talent/caliber because the Cs have no KP? I'm on record here saying that losing KP is a problem, even a big one. But, there is no question the Cs are still the better team even if the talent gap has shrunk too much for comfort.
I think there's been a narrative throughout the series that the Mavs have played the Celts even without KP...even though KP was more or less not himself in Game 2 and not there in Game 3. The two best players for Dallas are very good, bunt I think things have been weighted way too much back to 'these teams are even because of Luka and Kyrie'. The supporting cast played probably as well as they could on Friday. They haven't been the same group on the road. Kyrie hasn't performed well in Boston.. and really... Boston hasn't put together a full 48 minutes yet this series either. Dallas' defense is good, but the C's have solved every D thrown at them this season and it's not like they didn't miss a ton of open shots on Friday. Settle down.. and show them that you still have 5 of the top 7 players on the floor even w/o KP.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Also, can I say that I think it's weird that some posters in the last 24 hours have declared that the teams are basically even talent/caliber because the Cs have no KP? I'm on record here saying that losing KP is a problem, even a big one. But, there is no question the Cs are still the better team even if the talent gap has shrunk too much for comfort.
I haven't seen anyone characterize the teams as even. That said, before and into the series we had plenty of posts that gave Dallas no shot or implied the delta between these two teams is fairly vast. It may well be under regular season play but its not now.

The Cs should close this out but its entirely fair to question whether they can get it. For those of us who have been around Boston sports for more than the past ~two decades, its only common sense not to yell "all clear" until its over.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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According to Karalis, Al said that in a typical series, one team would make an adjustment and that would force the other team to make an adjustment and so on. But i this series, The Cs haven't had to make any adjustments. But Al said that they know what DAL did and they'll be ready for it.

The Mavs are selling out on rim protection. Al is going to take a lot of 3Ps. I think he'll make a bunch.
 

chilidawg

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The Mavs were selling out on rim protection, but also doing a good job of getting back to contest 3's. Feels like I also saw guys like Doncic and Washington at the rim more and Lively out contesting on the perimeter. Only 1 block from Lively and Gafford combined in G4. If that's the case then Tatum and Brown just need to finish stronger.
 

Ed Hillel

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The Mavs were selling out on rim protection, but also doing a good job of getting back to contest 3's. Feels like I also saw guys like Doncic and Washington at the rim more and Lively out contesting on the perimeter. Only 1 block from Lively and Gafford combined in G4. If that's the case then Tatum and Brown just need to finish stronger.
Takes a ton of energy. Celtics missed a lot of open shots, they hit a few to keep it close and Dallas will likely run out of it in the 2nd half on the road. Luka might not make it to halftime if they keep it close.
 

the moops

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Luka might not make it to halftime if they keep it close.
I thought it was game 4 that he wasn't going to finish? These takes on Luka are bad. Yes, he is not in top shape, but the dude has played the most minutes of anyone in the NBA this season, and despite his flab showed up big time in game 4. And anyone expecting him to bow out at half time in game 5 is delusional.
 

Ed Hillel

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I thought it was game 4 that he wasn't going to finish? These takes on Luka are bad. Yes, he is not in top shape, but the dude has played the most minutes of anyone in the NBA this season, and despite his flab showed up big time in game 4. And anyone expecting him to bow out at half time in game 5 is delusional.
Yeah, Luka’s played great in the second halves of competitive games this series. Looked completely the same as first halves.

Obviously, I didn’t mean he’d literally quit. But you already knew that.
 

the moops

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Yeah, Luka’s played great in the second halves of competitive games this series. Looked completely the same as first halves.

Obviously, I didn’t mean he’d literally quit. But you already knew that.
Correct, he has not played well at all in the 2nd halves of these games, and especially not great in 4th quarters. You know who else has had terribly shitty 4th quarters? Tatum is 3-17 in 4th quarter shooting. Yet nobody is suggesting that he is going to quit on his team if things aren't going well.

It is crazy though how terrible those two stars shooting is in these 4th quarters. Doncic, 3-15. Tatum 3-17
 

lovegtm

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Correct, he has not played well at all in the 2nd halves of these games, and especially not great in 4th quarters. You know who else has had terribly shitty 4th quarters? Tatum is 3-17 in 4th quarter shooting. Yet nobody is suggesting that he is going to quit on his team if things aren't going well.

It is crazy though how terrible those two stars shooting is in these 4th quarters. Doncic, 3-15. Tatum 3-17
Yeah, they both have a lot of responsibilities on both ends (Luka due to targeting, Tatum guarding centers, and then obviously the offensive aspect), and it shows late.
 

Joe D Reid

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I do think it is reasonable to question how Doncic will hold up physically at the end of a game where is giving max effort on D for four quarters, given he hasn’t been holding up well while only giving spotty effort on D.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Yeah, they both have a lot of responsibilities on both ends (Luka due to targeting, Tatum guarding centers, and then obviously the offensive aspect), and it shows late.
Both teams are selling out to make the others beat them, especially in crunch time. As everyone knows, its easier to defend when you know what teams want to do and in close-and-late, its go to the bucket-getters.
 

lars10

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Correct, he has not played well at all in the 2nd halves of these games, and especially not great in 4th quarters. You know who else has had terribly shitty 4th quarters? Tatum is 3-17 in 4th quarter shooting. Yet nobody is suggesting that he is going to quit on his team if things aren't going well.

It is crazy though how terrible those two stars shooting is in these 4th quarters. Doncic, 3-15. Tatum 3-17
One is playing a fuckton more defense..

Edit: do you think it’s your job to be a contrarian about everything?

Also nobody has suggested that Tatum has been the best closer of all time like Luka. Tatum has struggled shooting all series and has got a ton of shit for it.. I bet he’s out-assisted, out rebounded and everything else Luka in the fourth..
 

m0ckduck

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I wonder if they might switch out of using Tatum to guard Lively/Gafford, at least in spots just to cross the Mavericks up. It was a great tactical move in games 1-3 and especially seemed to flummox Dallas on offense in the early games. But they seemed to solve it to a certain degree and use the centers' size to better advantage over Tatum as the series went along. Plus, with KP out, Horford has guarded Luka about as well as Tatum, so there could be benefit to allowing Al to be switched on Luka in the center P-n-R and keeping Tatum fresher on the offensive end.

I don't think they'd scrap Tatum-on-the-center entirely, mind you, but maybe mix it up a bit more.
 

8slim

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According to Karalis, Al said that in a typical series, one team would make an adjustment and that would force the other team to make an adjustment and so on. But i this series, The Cs haven't had to make any adjustments. But Al said that they know what DAL did and they'll be ready for it.

The Mavs are selling out on rim protection. Al is going to take a lot of 3Ps. I think he'll make a bunch.
Yup, this chess game is how NBA playoff series have worked forever. I think Joe coached rings around Kidd in games 1-3. Kidd finally got one over on him.

Most of you are far more diehard than I am, but I have been watching the NBA since the 80s so I pretty surprised at some of the takes here.

Mostly the ones that suggest the Mavs have “figured out” the Celtics and now we should be scared.

They had one good game, and the Cs spit the bit. It’s nothing unprecedented.
 

Ed Hillel

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Correct, he has not played well at all in the 2nd halves of these games, and especially not great in 4th quarters. You know who else has had terribly shitty 4th quarters? Tatum is 3-17 in 4th quarter shooting. Yet nobody is suggesting that he is going to quit on his team if things aren't going well.
It’s like speaking to a brick wall with you. I literally just said I didn’t mean he was going to quit, just that he’d be blown up.
 

the moops

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One is playing a fuckton more defense..

Edit: do you think it’s your job to be a contrarian about everything?

Also nobody has suggested that Tatum has been the best closer of all time like Luka. Tatum has struggled shooting all series and has got a ton of shit for it.. I bet he’s out-assisted, out rebounded and everything else Luka in the fourth..
If you want to just have a shit on Luka and ignore everything else conversation, feel free to not respond to me if my contrarian takes bother you so much.

Tatum has outrebounded Doncic in the 4th. Doncic has more assists.

And small sample 3 quarter +/-, I know, but Doncic is +7 in the 4th quarters. Tatum is -11.

Doncic is sieve on defense, except in game 4 when he appeared to give a shit. And yes, if I was a Mavs fan it would be concerning that he struggled so much in the 4th in the first 3 games while not giving even 50% effort on defense. But the man plays a lot of basketball and has never backed down from a challenge that I am aware of. So the takes over the past several days where posters express concern over whether Doncic will even be able to finish the game are super hot takey
 

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Personally, I’d love to hear Luka’s explanation of where that D came from; he came racing out of the blocks in the first quarter. Has he been asked that since? If I were a Mavs fan, I’d have been screaming at my TV; thrilled to see it, but WTF DUDE???

Understanding that might inform what we should expect to see tonight, too.
 

m0ckduck

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Personally, I’d love to hear Luka’s explanation of where that D came from; he came racing out of the blocks in the first quarter. Has he been asked that since? If I were a Mavs fan, I’d have been screaming at my TV; thrilled to see it, but WTF DUDE???

Understanding that might inform what we should expect to see tonight, too.
See, I hope Windhorst and the rest of the media regale him with "Mission accomplished! You've now persuaded us about your defensive skills. No further effort required."
 

InstaFace

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Yup, this chess game is how NBA playoff series have worked forever. I think Joe coached rings around Kidd in games 1-3. Kidd finally got one over on him.

Most of you are far more diehard than I am, but I have been watching the NBA since the 80s so I pretty surprised at some of the takes here.

Mostly the ones that suggest the Mavs have “figured out” the Celtics and now we should be scared.

They had one good game, and the Cs spit the bit. It’s nothing unprecedented.
Yep. "but what if we'd lost some of the close games?" We didn't. We won them all. If my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle. They said the same thing about the Indy series. We had close games there, too - and won them all. It's not a fluke, it's how this team has been all year, which is why we boat raced the league. We're up 3-1 for a number of very good reasons, most of which portend well for tonight.

If Game 4 had been within 10 in the last 8 minutes, I'd have liked our chances there too, honestly. We've seen this team bear down and come roaring back in crunch time when it needs to - the January game @ OKC being my textbook example. Friday was just too deep a hole to climb out of (by the 3rd, anyway), even for us.
 

Captaincoop

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Yup, this chess game is how NBA playoff series have worked forever. I think Joe coached rings around Kidd in games 1-3. Kidd finally got one over on him.

Most of you are far more diehard than I am, but I have been watching the NBA since the 80s so I pretty surprised at some of the takes here.

Mostly the ones that suggest the Mavs have “figured out” the Celtics and now we should be scared.

They had one good game, and the Cs spit the bit. It’s nothing unprecedented.
There's a significant vein of commentary in here that sounds like it comes from people who have discovered amateur hoopheads on YouTube, breaking down video after the fact, and now think they completely understand coaching basketball, maybe even better than the guys who actually do it for a living.

Coaching matters, but the impact of this X and O stuff is being overstated again and again. At the end of the day, the talent on the floor, and how it executes on a given day, matters way more than any scheme or tactic the coaching staff tries to implement. Especially at the NBA level.

The Celtics are the better team, and if they execute tonight it won't matter what the Mavs coaching staff has figured out.

(By the way - this is not directed at anyone in particular, and certainly not you)
 

lovegtm

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There's a significant vein of commentary in here that sounds like it comes from people who have discovered amateur hoopheads on YouTube, breaking down video after the fact, and now think they completely understand coaching basketball, maybe even better than the guys who actually do it for a living.

Coaching matters, but the impact of this X and O stuff is being overstated again and again. At the end of the day, the talent on the floor, and how it executes on a given day, matters way more than any scheme or tactic the coaching staff tries to implement. Especially at the NBA level.

The Celtics are the better team, and if they execute tonight it won't matter what the Mavs coaching staff has figured out.

(By the way - this is not directed at anyone in particular, and certainly not you)
I think that Mazzulla and co would agree pretty strongly with this. There's a reason he's been ending ~every media answer with "rebound, get back on defense, execute, pay attention to spacing."

The "Do Better" button is very, very real in the NBA.
 

the moops

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I'll admit that I was with Tim on that one and it might have been true if the Cs had jumped out to a big early lead (of course we'll never know).
No we won't ever know for sure but I am still curious why some think that Doncic would just quit on his team at half time if things weren't going well. The guy has played the most minutes in the entire NBA regular season + playoffs. Played the most minutes in the playoffs. Has scored the most points in the playoffs. Has the most rebounds and assists in the playoffs. The most steals. the most three pointers made. Most free throws attempted and made. Most field goals made. it goes on and on and points to someone who will play and continue to play so long as there is basketball to be played
 

Reverend

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Hell, multiple posters were saying he'd dodge game four is they went down 0-3.
I think there’s been some conflation between people who said he’d quit / dodge and those who, say, for example, wondered if he had the conditioning to sustain what he was doing in Game 4.
 

kfoss99

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I underestimated Kidd, Irving, and Luka. I'll admit it. I hate Kidd and Irving. I didn't think Luka had the conditioning in him the way he played the first three games.
 

Euclis20

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What are people''s expectations for Porzingis tonight? I haven't seen much...
Joe said yesterday his status is the same as game 4, meaning he's likely going to be available "in the right situation." I don't believe he's meant to be a victory cigar, I think he's available for a 5 minute stretch here or there if the game is close and Tillman is ineffective, just to give Al a breather. Obviously his presence wouldn't have done anything in game 4, but if it's a close game in the 2nd half and the choice is either try to play Al for 20+ minutes or give Tillman another chance, I can see him going to door 3 and seeing if he can steal 5 minutes with KP. Especially if Luka goes to the bench.
 

wilked

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Interesting

For me I would approach it differently. Get him in early (assuming he is cleared). I see the following advantages:
a) see how he looks in game play, let you know what you have with him
b) get him in early to either build a lead or keep the game close. If they are down heavy early again I might think I've missed my window to use him

For that reason I sub him in similar to games 1 and 2, work him, see if the Celts can't build a lead and get Dallas to start thinking about their vacation plans...
 

Light-Tower-Power

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I’d be shocked if Porzingis plays another meaningful minute this year. It’s not something that gets better with rest. If he could play he’d have played by now.
 

Red Right Arm

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Joe said yesterday his status is the same as game 4, meaning he's likely going to be available "in the right situation." I don't believe he's meant to be a victory cigar, I think he's available for a 5 minute stretch here or there if the game is close and Tillman is ineffective, just to give Al a breather. Obviously his presence wouldn't have done anything in game 4, but if it's a close game in the 2nd half and the choice is either try to play Al for 20+ minutes or give Tillman another chance, I can see him going to door 3 and seeing if he can steal 5 minutes with KP. Especially if Luka goes to the bench.
Assuming it really is largely about comfort and pain management for KP, I can imagine the extra adrenaline from playing at home will help. He's already talked about the boost he got Game 1 from the crowd. If he walks up to the scorer's table tonight the place is going to go f'in nuts.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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No we won't ever know for sure but I am still curious why some think that Doncic would just quit on his team at half time if things weren't going well. The guy has played the most minutes in the entire NBA regular season + playoffs. Played the most minutes in the playoffs. Has scored the most points in the playoffs. Has the most rebounds and assists in the playoffs. The most steals. the most three pointers made. Most free throws attempted and made. Most field goals made. it goes on and on and points to someone who will play and continue to play so long as there is basketball to be played
Well personally for me I thought given all of the injuries he kept reporting, it would make him look better if he couldn't play in G4 or if he tried to play but couldn't make it through. You know, the "Luka's clearly injured - it would have been a different story if he was at full strength."

Sorry Luka for selling you short (not sorry).
 

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I’d be shocked if Porzingis plays another meaningful minute this year. It’s not something that gets better with rest. If he could play he’d have played by now.
I don't know about that. Game 4 got out of hand pretty quickly, and there was no point in putting him in once it did.
 

Euclis20

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I’d be shocked if Porzingis plays another meaningful minute this year. It’s not something that gets better with rest. If he could play he’d have played by now.
The boldest just isn't necessarily true. I agree that it sounds like this isn't something that gets better with rest (or at least not the short rest allowed in the middle of this series), but his availability isn't so obviously black and white. It's just not as simple as "he's injured and can't play" or " he's healthy and will play," all the information we've gotten seems to indicate that he's physically able to do something, but some combination of pain management, increased chance to reinjure (or hurt something new), or decreased effectiveness has kept him on the injured list and available, but not yet worth seeing the court. The Celtics haven't needed him, so it wasn't worth the risk to play him. If that changes, so will the odds of him seeing real playing time.

Honestly, I'm hoping we don't see him on the court again this year. I think that would mean that we closed out the series tonight, with relatively little drama.
 

Joe D Reid

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Mass is the biotech center of the western world. If this goes 7 they’ve got just about one more week to perfect a miracle brace or procedure or nanobot or fentanyl patch or whatever. Show out.
 

Caspir

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Have they tried wrapping his entire body in ice packs with ace bandages for ten minutes when the cameras start rolling? Worth a shot.