Boston Celtics

Why Danny Green believes C's Game 1 success vs. Mavs is ‘unsustainable'

"It was a hell of a win for them, but Dallas found some things."

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A remarkable defensive effort propelled the Boston Celtics to a decisive win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals.

Dallas was kept to only 42 first-half points -- its second-fewest in any half all season -- and 89 total points for the game. Luka Doncic accounted for 30 of those points and the next-highest scorer on the Mavs, P.J. Washington, contributed 14.

The Celtics' defensive strategy was clear: let Doncic do his thing and stop everyone else. They switched on pick-and-rolls rather than helping off defenders and giving him passing lanes to open shooters.

It was a massive success. Doncic notched just one assist, and fellow star Kyrie Irving struggled mightily with just 12 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Dallas had just nine assists in total.

Suffice it to say, coach Jason Kidd and the Mavs must make significant adjustments. NBA veteran Danny Green expects them to do just that, telling Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green that he still expects a tightly contested series.

"It was a hell of a win for them, but Dallas found some things," Danny Green said on The Draymond Green Show. "I wouldn't be too confident after watching tonight's game. Ky (Kyrie Irving) didn't have a great game. And I don't think the energy, (Kristaps) Porzingis is going to be able to sustain that.

"They switched, they didn't trap as much. Both teams switched. They're going to take advantage of that. Luka, it took him a quarter to settle in but once he settled in, he's found something. He knows where he's at, now Ky just has to settle in. Once that happens, we're gonna have a series. It's gonna be a real series."

Danny Green added that he doesn't believe Boston's "make Luka beat us" strategy is sustainable going forward.

"I don't think it's gonna work," he said. "It worked early. Jaylen Brown played great defense early. ... Al Horford even contested, blocked a shot or two. That's not gonna be sustainable for a seven-game series. Al Horford, those guys switching onto Ky and Luka is not going to work."

Expecting Doncic to be nearly shut out of the assists column all series would be foolish. The Slovenian superstar averaged 9.8 assists per game during the regular season and 8.4 so far in the playoffs. Adjustments will be made.

That said, Game 1 showed just how vulnerable the Mavs are when Irving isn't on his game. The Celtics, on the other hand, are deep enough to handle one or two of their top scorers having off nights.

Boston will look to take a 2-0 series lead when the Finals resume Sunday at TD Garden. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET with coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston with Celtics Pregame Live.

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