Boston Celtics

Celtics-Mavs takeaways: No rust for Porzingis as C's cruise to Game 1 win

Kristaps Porzingis didn't miss a beat in his much-anticipated return from injury.

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BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics' 2024 NBA Finals run couldn't have gotten off to a much better start.

The C's treated the raucous TD Garden crowd to a dominant performance vs. the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 on Thursday night. They stormed out the gate with a 17-point lead at the end of the opening quarter and a 21-point lead at the half. Dallas went on a run early in the third to trim the deficit to eight, but Boston responded to finish the frame up 20.

That's the only run the Mavs would have as the Celtics cruised to a 107-89 victory. They led by as many as 29 points in the triumph.

Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis starred for the C's with 22 and 20 points, respectively. All five Boston starters scored in double figures.

Luka Doncic dropped a game-high 30 points for the Mavs in a losing effort. P.J. Washington added 14 and ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving was limited to 12 while being showered with boos from the Garden crowd.

Game 2 tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET Sunday at TD Garden. Before we turn the page to that showdown, here are three takeaways from the Celtics' Game 1 win.

No rust for Kristaps Porzingis

Porzingis didn't miss a beat in his first appearance since Game 4 of the Celtics' first-round series vs. Miami.

Returning from a right calf strain, the Celtics' star big man entered Thursday's game off the bench to a huge ovation five minutes into the first quarter. To say he looked spry would be an understatement.

Porzingis was a force on both ends, immediately making his presence felt with 11 points, three rebounds, and two blocks in the opening frame. Boston was up one point when Porzingis entered the game and extended its lead to 17 by the end of the quarter.

He finished the first half with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting in 12 minutes.

Porzingis ended up with 20 points (8-13 FG), six rebounds, and three blocks. He needed only 20 minutes to put up that stat line, keeping him fresh for Game 2 on Sunday.

Jaylen Brown picks up where he left off

The Eastern Conference Finals MVP wants to add a Finals MVP to his résumé.

Brown provided an offensive spark while reminding the NBA world why he deserved more All-Defensive consideration. He shined with 13 points and three steals in the first half and continued to dominate on both ends over the final two frames.

Brown's defensive hustle reached another gear in the second half. He had a pair of monster blocks, including this one on his ex-teammate Irving:

Brown finished with a team-high 22 points on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting. He added six boards, three blocks, and three steals in what was a stellar all-around night.

Earlier in the postseason, Brown said he considered himself one of the best two-way guards in the NBA. He has backed his talk up ever since, and it could result in the Bill Russell Finals MVP Trophy joining the Larry Bird Trophy on his mantle.

Elite Celtics defense

The Mavericks will need much more out of their supporting cast in order to have any shot at making this a tight series.

Luka Doncic's 30-point wasn't nearly enough to carry the Mavs in Game 1. P.J. Washington was Dallas' next-highest scorer with 14, and Kyrie Irving wasn't much of a factor with 12 points on just 6-of-18 shooting (0-5 3-PT). Those were the only three Dallas players to reach double figures

The Mavs' 42 first-half points marked their second-fewest in any half all season. Their 89 total points tied for their fourth-fewest of the season. Their season-low is 86.

Boston had as many blocks (nine) as Dallas had assists. Irving led the Mavs in the assist column with just two.

The Mavericks shot just 7-of-27 (25.9 percent) from deep. Doncic accounted for four of those 3s.

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