Dante excellent in bringing energy off the bench as Dallas defy Boston’s attempt at clean sweep


The Dallas Mavericks have emphatically extended their season, fending off elimination by beating the Boston Celtics 122-84 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Trailing 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, the Mavericks were, as so often, led home by Luka Doncic – who scored 25 of his 29 points in the first half – and Kyrie Irving.

Australia’s Dante Exum added 10 points for the Mavs, while his Boomers teammate Josh Green contributed three.

It was all Dallas from the outset, the Mavericks leading by 13 after one quarter, 26 at the half and by as many as 38 in the third before both sides emptied the benches.

The 38-point final margin was the third-biggest ever in an NBA Finals game, behind only Chicago beating Utah 96-54 in 1998 and the Celtics beating the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 in 2008.

Before Friday, the worst NBA Finals loss for the 17-time champion Celtics was 137-104 to the Lakers in 1984. 

This was worse. Much worse, at times. Dallas’ biggest lead in the fourth was 48 – the largest deficit the Celtics have faced all season.

“It happened, we can’t change it. We had a bad night,” Boston’s leading points-scorer Jayson Tatum said. 

“We always say you lose by two or you lose by 30, they all count the same. … We’re not making any excuses. We need to be better, and we will.”


Dallas is LOUD for Game 4 on ABC ???????? pic.twitter.com/HhxbIJhCsJ

— NBA (@NBA) June 15, 2024

Tough night aside, the Celtics still lead the series 3-1, with Game 5 in Boston on Monday.

The loss – Boston’s first in five weeks – snapped their franchise-record, 10-game post-season winning streak and took away the chance of becoming the first team in NBA history to win the conference finals and the finals in 4-0 sweeps.

Tatum scored 15 points, Sam Hauser had 14, and Jaylen Brown and Jrue Holiday each finished with 10 for the Celtics.

“The guys came out with the right intentions … Dallas outplayed us. They just played harder,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. 

“You have to prepare to put yourself in the best possible position, but it doesn’t guarantee anything.”

Tim Hardaway Jr scored 15 points, all in the fourth quarter, and Dereck Lively had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas. 

Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks
NBA : Head To Head
Tue, 18 Jun 2024, 10:35

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It was Lively who provided the hint it was going to be a good night for the Mavs in the early going. 

He connected on a 3-pointer – the first of his NBA career – midway through the first quarter, a shot that gave the Mavs the lead for good.

Dallas still face the steepest climb possible in this series, but they have taken first step.

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