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Jrue Holiday, Celtics take 2-0 lead despite Luka Doncic’s triple-double

The Boston Celtics seem to have found a way to stop the Dallas Mavericks as they got up by 2-0 in the 2024 NBA Finals series. Boston saw Jrue Holiday taking the spoils in Game 2 with 26 points and 11 rebounds for a 105-98 victory covering for Jayson Tatum’s rough shooting night. Tatum finished with 18 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.

Jaylen Brown, who was the leading scorer in Boston’s blowout Game 1 victory, had 21 points, while Derrick White added 18. The Celtics only shot 10 of 39 from three and were down in the first quarter but they started to build momentum in the final quarte to take the game away.

 “I don’t prefer one or the other, I prefer both. Because they’re both superstars, and they’re showing it on the biggest stage in the world,” Holiday said on the superstar duo of Brown-Tatum commenting on what Jason Kidd said before Game 2.

Luka Doncic had 29 points in the first three quarters for Dallas and had his 10th career triple-double with 11 rebounds and 11 assists in addition to his 32 points. The Slovenian phenom only scored three points in the final 12 minutes and the Dallas Mavericks’ offense took a dive. This was the first triple-double in the NBA Finals from a Mavericks’ player.

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Fourth quarter defense was the key for the Celtics

The Celtics took an 83-95 advantage early in the fourth quarter with defense playing a huge role once more. The Dallas Mavericks finished the final period with an offensive rating of 90 points per 100 possessions. Despite their struggles, Dallas returned to the game and had the chance to cut the deficit down 3 with less than a minute remaining.

However, Derrick White was able to block PJ Washington’s runaway dunk with 58 seconds remaining. Tatum has been a big story for the Celtics as the 5-time NBA All-Star has not scored more than 18 points in the two first games of the NBA Finals.

The scoring forward is averaging 17.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists in the games against the Dallas Mavericks. However, Tatum has not needed to carry a huge offensive load in this playoff run as the Celtics constantly have four or more players in double-digits.

“We’re so close to to what we’re trying to accomplish — why would I let my ego or need to score a lot of points get in the way of that?” Tatum noted in the press conference.

Game 3 is Wednesday night in Dallas. The Mavericks need at least one win in the next two games to avoid the sweep. The last sweep in the NBA Finals was back in 2018 when the Golden State Warriors won all of the first four games in the series against the Cavaliers.

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