Boston Celtics

Celtics-Mavs takeaways: Dallas extends series with historic Game 4 rout

The NBA Finals will shift back to TD Garden for Game 5 on Monday.

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Put the brooms away, Boston Celtics fans. Banner 18 is on hold for at least one more game.

The desperate Dallas Mavericks avoided getting swept out of the 2024 NBA Finals with a dominant Game 4 win on their home court Friday night. They jumped out to an early double-digit lead for the second straight game, only this time, they finished the job.

Dallas widened its lead to a whopping 48 points and cruised to a 122-84 victory -- the third-largest margin in NBA Finals history -- to snap Boston's 10-game playoff win streak. After their first road loss of the postseason, the Celtics will look to win the NBA championship in front of the TD Garden crowd on Monday night.

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Mavs stars Luka Doncic (29 points) and Kyrie Irving (21 points) led the way in the scoring department. Jayson Tatum paced the Celtics with 15 points in their worst offensive performance of the 2023-24 season. C's coach Joe Mazzulla pulled his starters with 3:18 left in the third quarter.

Boston big man Kristaps Porzingis was listed as available to play but did not appear in the game.

Monday's Game 5 is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. ET tip-off in Boston. Before we look ahead to that matchup, here are three takeaways from Friday's defeat.

Dallas' defense wakes up

The Mavericks had been rightfully scrutinized for their defensive effort through the first three games of the series. In Game 4, though, they looked like a different team.

Dallas held Boston to its lowest-scoring first quarter (21 points) of the postseason and lowest-scoring second quarter (14 points) of the regular season and playoffs. It was the lowest-scoring first half (35 points) for the Celtics since Jan. 2022 and their lowest-scoring half of the entire 2023-24 campaign.

The Celtics' 35 first-half points marked the fewest in an NBA Finals game since June 15, 2010, when Boston scored 31 against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6.

It only got worse for the Celtics in the second half. They finished with a 35.1 shooting percentage, the lowest team field goal percentage in NBA Finals history. Dallas held them to their lowest scoring total (84) of the season.

Outclassed on the glass

Before the game, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla preached the importance of winning on the margins. That, of course, includes rebounding.

Boston was dominated in that department in Game 4. Dallas set the tone early on with a 12-6 rebounding advantage in the first quarter, including a 4-0 edge on the offensive glass. That trend continued the rest of the way with the Mavs dominating the boards, 52-31 (13-4 offensive rebounds).

The Celtics' rebounding woes translated to a 16-2 second-chance points advantage for the Mavericks. Dallas more than doubled Boston's total points in the paint, 60-26 -- another season-low for the C's.

Mavs role players step up

The Mavericks didn't get much of anything offensively from their non-Doncic/Irving players through the first three games. The role players played a huge role in extending the series on Friday.

Dereck Lively II, Dante Exum, Max Kleber, and Josh Green combined for 19 points in the first half. Lively had six points -- including his first career 3-pointer -- and 10 rebounds through the first two frames

Dallas emptied the bench with the game well in hand and got 54 total points from the second unit. Tim Hardaway Jr. (15 points, 5-7 FG), Lively (11 points, 4-5 FG), and Exum (10 points, 4-7 FG) led the group.

The Mavs will need their role players to rise to the occasion again on Monday if they hope to force a Game 6 in Dallas.

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