Celtics Defeat Mavs in Game 3, Now One Win Away from Championship

Celtics Beat Mavs in Game 3 to Move One Win from NBA Title

Dallas – In the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night, it looked like the Boston Celtics might let their lead slip away due to their bad habits.

Fourth Quarter Comeback by the Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks, trailing by 21 points with 10 minutes left, made a stunning 22-2 run, putting Boston's lead at risk.

Celtics Regain Control

However, the Celtics turned things around, holding Dallas to just one field goal in a critical five-minute span, securing a 106-99 victory and taking a 3-0 series lead.

One Win Away from Championship Glory

Boston is now one win away from their record 18th NBA Championship 2024, which they can achieve in Game 4 on Friday at the American Airlines Center.

Jalen Brown remarked, "Experience is the best teacher," after finishing the game with 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists in 41 minutes. "All year, we've heard about the old Celtics, our past mistakes over the last six to eight months. This is a new team. We've learned from those experiences. In these moments, you can see we've learned and found ways to win."

Early Lead and Mavericks' Fightback

The game started with the Mavericks taking an early lead of 25-12 within the first seven minutes. Kyrie Irving, who had previously scored 28 points in two games in Boston, scored 35 points, giving Dallas their first lead of the series. Despite this, the Celtics outscored the Mavericks 79-45 over the next 29 minutes, leading 91-70 with 11:07 left. Dallas seemed headed for another loss, especially with Kristaps Porzingis out due to a left foot injury.

Late-Game Drama

But Dallas found their rhythm again as Boston struggled. When Boston went 1-11 and committed three turnovers in the next 7:57, Dallas closed the gap to 93-92 on an Irving shot, even without Luka Doncic, who had fouled out moments earlier.

Boston responded with Jaylen Brown's putback, a Derrick White 3-pointer, and a Jayson Tatum dunk, extending their lead. "Yes, we had some turnovers that allowed them to get out in transition," White said. "We just let the rope go for a few minutes. They cut it to two or three. It happened quickly, but we came back and trusted our work."

Boston's Resilience and Road Dominance

In the past, this might have been a moment when the Celtics let the game slip away. But Boston showed resilience, improving to 7-0 on the road in these playoffs. Over the past three postseasons, they are 21-7 on the road, matching the best winning percentage over three years in NBA history with the Chicago Bulls from 1991 to 1993.

Celtics Road Dominance

Contributions from the Entire Team

The Celtics got contributions from across the board. Backup center Xavier Tillman stepped up, playing 11 impactful minutes, hitting a corner 3-pointer, grabbing 4 rebounds, and recording 2 blocks, including one against Dončić. Sam Hauser went 3-for-4 from 3-point range and was a game-high plus-16 off the bench after going 0-for-5 from 3 in Game 2. Tatum, after going 6-for-22 in Game 2, finished with 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. He and Brown combined for 61 points. The Celtics are now one win away from surpassing the Los Angeles Lakers for the most league titles.

Staying Focused on the Goal

But after being up 3-0 in last year's Eastern Conference Finals and being forced to Game 7 by the Miami Heat, Boston knows the job isn’t finished.

"Honestly, it’s not hard to keep last year in perspective when we were down 0-3 in the conference finals, and we really thought we were going to come back," Tatum said. "We almost did. We were one real chance away after I sprained my ankle.

"So, you know, we’re not relaxing or focusing on winning on Friday or anything. Our motto is 'whatever it takes, however long it takes.' Nobody is trying to relax."

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