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 .

PedroKsBambino

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Fully agree.

Tatum and Brown got exposed a bit in the 2022 finals--conditioning, strength, and handle. They worked on it.

Let's see what Luka comes back with in the fall - did he drop some weight and do some agility exercises, or did he enjoy outdoor drinking season? Will tell us a great deal about whether we're on a Tatum/Brown trajectory or a Carmelo/Dominique trajectory with him
 

Van Everyman

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At least do something with that body. They called him 6'8" 235 on the broadcast (last night I think). Even if true, it's a doughy 235. Nothing wrong with being 235 at 6'8". Hell Lebron was the best player on earth at like 260 at that height. But it's the overall body composition. If he leans out and adds some muscle and works on lateral movement and some explosiveness, he could be great at both ends. Effort is only part of it, for sure.
I am pretty sure the announcers called him 215 last night. I am 6'1" and weigh 215 -- I could shed a few pounds for sure, but there is literally zero chance Luka and I are the same weight.
 

Jimbodandy

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I am pretty sure the announcers called him 215 last night. I am 6'1" and weigh 215 -- I could shed a few pounds for sure, but there is literally zero chance Luka and I are the same weight.
We definitely heard it differently. Why would anyone pretend that a guy his height with that build is 215? I find it hard to believe that he's 230/235. Seems like at least 10 pounds over that. He is pretty strong, so there's muscle under there. If he's 215, I'm about 135.
 

benhogan

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I'm not sure that they'll ever get there, but this is true. When guys give back almost as many as they score, it's a problem. For some reason, folks get this with Trae. They just don't with Luka.
Agreed. Those first 3 games were legendarily bad defense by Luka, like nothing we've ever seen in a Finals.

You just can't be considered (in my book) the best player in the NBA if you warp the defense that much.

It explains his pedestrian career On-Off +/- for a so-called superstar.
 

Van Everyman

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Fully agree.

Tatum and Brown got exposed a bit in the 2022 finals--conditioning, strength, and handle. They worked on it.

Let's see what Luka comes back with in the fall - did he drop some weight and do some agility exercises, or did he enjoy outdoor drinking season? Will tell us a great deal about whether we're on a Tatum/Brown trajectory or a Carmelo/Dominique trajectory with him
Tatum and Brown have always talked about using the off-season to level up their games and bodies. Brown and the pool workouts, Tatum putting on muscle, etc.

Meanwhile here are stories from the last three years we've seen about Luka:

Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic admits having issue with weight, conditioning
NBA All-Star Luka Doncic is changing his diet to slim down, with chicken dinners and plenty of vegetables
Luka Doncic Trainer: In-Shape Mavs Star Ready to Take 'Next Step'

And yet, when the season got going, Luka was plobby, out of shape and, this season, gassed by the end of every game in the Finals.

Maybe being exposed and ridiculed to the extent he was will force something to change--and the media will no doubt push these stories again over the next two or three months--but I will believe it when I see it.
 

Jimbodandy

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Agreed. Those first 3 games were legendarily bad defense by Luka, like nothing we've ever seen in a Finals.

You just can't be considered (in my book) the best player in the NBA if you warp the defense that much.

It explains his pedestrian career On-Off +/- for a so-called superstar.
I don't want to turn it too much into a "dump on Luka" or "dump on Kyrie" effort. This Celtics team was a MF wagon.

That said, those of us who actually care about defense have been saying this about Luka for a while now, also Mitchell, Booker, Kyrie, Trae, Dame, and others. The list is long. Good to see it front and center in this series. A lot of the twitterati will write this off, perhaps even embrace that the Celtics were an unstoppable juggernaut (ha, the worm has turned), and give him a pass. At least some folks saw it though. Defense matters.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I was really surprised at how much fatigue played a factor in the NBA playoffs. Not just this game, but all playoffs. You see tired legs in game 7s, but it felt different this year. Even with the long break and two rest days between most games, the teams looked exhausted. And it was only game 5. Maybe that was part of the reason. There was a point in the third quarter late where it became clear that the Mavs did not have enough scoring left in them to come back even if the Celtics stopped scoring. Obviously, this had a ton to do with the Celtics’ defense. They just wore teams down, over four quarters and over series. But even so, the second half was 42-39 Mavs. That is kind of crazy. Both teams were kind of done. Hard to imagine how the teams could have played two more games.

I think it emphasizes how much the ability to close out early series quickly matters. Also, one thing that seems different in the last few years is how little blowouts matter. You can go back many years to see teams overcoming blowouts in the finals but it has been a noticeable thing in all rounds. I started paying a little more attention after one of the Suns series a few years back. Teams are content to just turn it off and take the blowout loss. There is no sense of “let’s finish strong for next game.” I think teams have just decided it’s ok to have some moments where you aren’t redlined in intensity and they come back stronger. It’s just not unusual to see back to back opposite blowouts.
It's not just physical fatigue, it's mental fatigue. There is so much stuff happening on every individual play that players have to think about - to try to be locked in and make the correct reads and reactions is mentally draining. JT talked about this after the bubble playoff series with TOR - he felt like he wasn't at his best in the MIA series because of it.

Which is why in 2022 we were all hoping that BOS could close out MIL and MIA without going the full 7 games.

2) While it wasn’t quite that the Mavs “figured out what they’re doing” as Lively said after game four, the Mavs defense was better in both games four and five. They as a team were disrupting lanes and hustling out to close out perimeter shooters much better than in games one through three. Had they played defense like that all series, I’m not sure it ends in five.
Sure DAL played better defense in G3 through G5 than G1 and G2 but I think a lot of that improvement is due to KP not being able to play. DAL isn't going to be able to play their one-man zone if KP is in the game and healthy. Also, remember DAL went to that adjustment for G3, and though it gave BOS trouble in the 1H and they destroyed in the third quarter.

And G4, BOS was just flat. If you watch the Thinking Basketball pod about G4, you'll notice that while DAL was running around on defense, they weren't really doing it in a systemic way. There were a lot of instances where DAL had two guys rotating towards an open shooter or weren't fully rotating. BOS missed a ton of reads and some open shots.
 

benhogan

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I don't want to turn it too much into a "dump on Luka" or "dump on Kyrie" effort. This Celtics team was a MF wagon.

That said, those of us who actually care about defense have been saying this about Luka for a while now, also Mitchell, Booker, Kyrie, Trae, Dame, and others. The list is long. Good to see it front and center in this series. A lot of the twitterati will write this off, perhaps even embrace that the Celtics were an unstoppable juggernaut (ha, the worm has turned), and give him a pass. At least some folks saw it though. Defense matters.
For way too long the NBA intelligentsia has written off defense as a commoditized skill that varies very little from player to player.
It pretty much birthed @lovegtm's PointZ!

Maybe, "defense is only worth 10% of a player's value" narrative changes after these Finals?

I thought JB's physical on-the-ball defense on Luka is what won him a well-deserved MVP. By the end, Jaylen had picked up a bunch of Jrue's on-ball defensive tactics, continuously knocking LuKy off their line & chopping their legs down by Q4.

BTW I took the ESPN Trade Machine out to the backyard last night and burned it... Brown is untradeable.

Pay the TAX Wyc or get a deep pocket partner if need be.
 

Jimbodandy

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For way too long the NBA intelligentsia has written off defense as a commoditized skill that varies very little from player to player.
It pretty much birthed @lovegtm's PointZ!

Maybe, "defense is only worth 10% of a player's value" narrative changes after these Finals?

I thought JB's physical on-the-ball defense on Luka is what won him a well-deserved MVP. By the end, Jaylen had picked up a bunch of Jrue's on-ball defensive tactics, continuously knocking LuKy off their line & chopping their legs down by Q4.

BTW I took the ESPN Trade Machine out to the backyard last night and burned it... Brown is untradeable.

Pay the TAX Wyc or get a deep pocket partner if need be.
Best part is that the other contracts are so good (especially if they lock down White *crossing fingers*), that it's not like anyone is unmovable in a few years if necessary. Even if someone loses a leg, you can staple a first to them and take some junk back and make it work. There's no reason to worry about Jaylen's contract. Never was really. If the tax ever became a legit problem, there's other tradeable deals. Pretty impressive roster construction, nevermind the fact that the players are fucking fantastic.
 

Al Zarilla

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benhogan

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Best part is that the other contracts are so good (especially if they lock down White *crossing fingers*), that it's not like anyone is unmovable in a few years if necessary. Even if someone loses a leg, you can staple a first to them and take some junk back and make it work. There's no reason to worry about Jaylen's contract. Never was really. If the tax ever became a legit problem, there's other tradeable deals. Pretty impressive roster construction, nevermind the fact that the players are fucking fantastic.
White is a lock to extend. Highly intelligent player, he'd never roll the dice on ~$132MM guaranteed
 

Al Zarilla

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He was probably still growing; entire different body chemistry issues at play. If you’re fat at 19 as an athlete you really have to want to be.
Maybe at 19 some athletes still have baby fat as an excuse. To hell with Luka though. The Celtics stars are Adonises and don’t wear down. Actually, last night, though, what with the tight rotations, the Celtics brought the ball up kind of slow a couple of times in the fourth quarter. Didn’t matter.
 

Auger34

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We definitely heard it differently. Why would anyone pretend that a guy his height with that build is 215? I find it hard to believe that he's 230/235. Seems like at least 10 pounds over that. He is pretty strong, so there's muscle under there. If he's 215, I'm about 135.
Gun to my head, I would guess Luka weighs about 255. He's got a big frame (big shoulders) and that can hide weight. Even with that frame, he still looks out of shape and a little paunchy
 

Fishercat

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I was watching a video today on the best/worst NBA trades and, it's funny how time changes things, I was shocked at how thin and quick Luka was in those early career clips - I'm sure it was a minute and gradual change over time but it wasn't just that his noticeably more robust now, he also felt slower and less dynamic. Which is silly to say about a player who is pretty much a consensus Top 3-5 player but how much better he could be with some dropped weight /conditioning and working on those improvable elements is wild.
 

BigSoxFan

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I was watching a video today on the best/worst NBA trades and, it's funny how time changes things, I was shocked at how thin and quick Luka was in those early career clips - I'm sure it was a minute and gradual change over time but it wasn't just that his noticeably more robust now, he also felt slower and less dynamic. Which is silly to say about a player who is pretty much a consensus Top 3-5 player but how much better he could be with some dropped weight /conditioning and working on those improvable elements is wild.
Yeah, his game is kind of weird. He almost operates like he's a 36 year-old with all those one-footed off balance shots. I think it's a good sign for his longevity that he doesn't need to be in top shape to be an effective score....but it's a bad sign when you're a 25 year-old professional basketball player who needs to be told to get in shape. It would be a shame to go the Harden route with his body because the skills are immense.
 

JCizzle

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Julius Randle is probably a decent body comp for Doncic. Who else?
Randle is listed as 6'8" and 250
With the conditioning, I was kinda thinking Paul Pierce to a degree? PP never looked ripped, but at the same time he wasn’t at Luka’s weight either.
 

jezza1918

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Youd think with that kind of size he could've grabbed at least one offensive board in the entire series, but alas...the two celts guards grabbed 4 each just last night.
 

Jimbodandy

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With the conditioning, I was kinda thinking Paul Pierce to a degree? PP never looked ripped, but at the same time he wasn’t at Luka’s weight either.
Pierce is an awesome physical comp. Well done.

In better shape to be sure, but overall size wise similar and also not ripped ripped. No insult to Truth fans. He was definitely in better shape overall, especially at this age.
 

worm0082

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Not sure which thread to put this in, but I hope they give honorary rings to Cousy & also Tommy’s family.
 

BobGenghisKhan

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Oh I agree that Trae is functionally limited by his height and size. And the effort is poor on his part too. He's absolutely worse than Luka. Point is that Luka is also terrible, like truly bad. He could be adequate, but he isn't. And he has been this way since he entered the league, and nobody ever talks about it.
He must have, playing as child in Europe against adults, had extremely low expectations defensively. I wonder if he learned some bad habits developing as a player in that environment while getting feedback that he was playing very well.
 

TrapperAB

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Anyone planning on going to the parade on Friday? The boy wants to experience it — we’re coming up from the Cape, will take the T in from Braintree. Wondering if there might be a SoSH contingent somewhere on the route…
 

Jimbodandy

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He must have, playing as child in Europe against adults, had extremely low expectations defensively. I wonder if he learned some bad habits developing as a player in that environment while getting feedback that he was playing very well.
Not a bad theory.

My guess is that it's an ego thing. He wants to stay in his lane and be the awesome offensive player that he is and to let his teammates handle that boring, unsexy defense stuff. We'll see how much soul searching he does this offseason. Some guys change. Others are who they are.
 

lovegtm

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Not a bad theory.

My guess is that it's an ego thing. He wants to stay in his lane and be the awesome offensive player that he is and to let his teammates handle that boring, unsexy defense stuff. We'll see how much soul searching he does this offseason. Some guys change. Others are who they are.
There's a lot of unsexy offense stuff he doesn't want to do either.
 

Jimbodandy

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This is true.

Dude clearly gives 0 fucks about fitness. The 2020 vs now video is damning.
Yep. Especially when he was going up against JB and JT, considering what those guys have done to their bodies. JB was riding his ass up the court and then leading the fast break. At some point, wouldn't one have to wonder how they're doing it? Wouldn't one of his teammates or Cuban anonymously message him with one of their summer workout videos?
 

lovegtm

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Yep. Especially when he was going up against JB and JT, considering what those guys have done to their bodies. JB was riding his ass up the court and then leading the fast break. At some point, wouldn't one have to wonder how they're doing it? Wouldn't one of his teammates or Cuban anonymously message him with one of their summer workout videos?
They have (had?) 0 leverage over Luka. Have to keep him happy at all costs. He's the #2 player in the league!
 

Justthetippett

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Don't mind the interaction but that is a criminally uninspired insult from Luka.

On the body improvement/fitness front, I would be shocked if we don't see some improvement, and I think it's the injuries that will scare him straight. He's putting unnecessary wear and tear on his knees and ankles (and probably back) because he's carrying unnecessary weight up and down the floor. I do not think we will see much improvement on D. There's not much point in the regular season and he lacks the skillset to really do it, even in better shape. The Mavs will get him some defensive help and try to improve their team defense instead.
 

Ed Hillel

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They have (had?) 0 leverage over Luka. Have to keep him happy at all costs. He's the #2 player in the league!
He was absolute ratpiss again on D in Game 5 btw. Blown by repeatedly, staring instead of helping, pointing at others when staring instead of helping, etc. That extra energy in Game 5 was saved for calling fans’ mothers hoes.

Never forget that one half in Game 4, though. Peak Luka, and we were here to see it. We were all witnesses.
 
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wade boggs chicken dinner

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Yep. Especially when he was going up against JB and JT, considering what those guys have done to their bodies. JB was riding his ass up the court and then leading the fast break. At some point, wouldn't one have to wonder how they're doing it? Wouldn't one of his teammates or Cuban anonymously message him with one of their summer workout videos?
Some podcasters suggested that DAL / Kidd have been trying to get Luka to take his fitness more seriously. Obviously there's not going to be any confirmation of that but Finley taking the beer out of Luka's hands seems telling.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Really good article on how BOS's defense took DAL out of several actions it wanted to do. Also breaks down a SLOB play by referenncing the Reddick/LBJ pod: https://www.sbnation.com/2024/6/18/24180716/nba-finals-game-5-celtics-mavericks-luka-doncic-kyrie-jaylen-brown

From that article (video from June 10 so not including all of the games):
PJ Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., Josh Green, and Maxi Kleber
First 3 rounds: • 63/148 (42.6%) on corner 3s (8.7 attempts per game) • 27/85 (31.8%) on ATB 3s (5.0 attempts per game)
Finals: • 1/6 (16.7%) on corner 3s (2 attempts per game) • 2/13 (15.4%) on ATB 3s (6.5 attempts per game)
Celtics have been sending extra bodies to act as gap/nail help in order to clog driving lanes, having their centers guard poor ATB shooters and sag off to contain side PnRs, and staying home on the corners and funneling passes ATB.