2024 NBA Finals:10 Need-To-Knows From Game One

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste any time asserting control of the NBA Finals with a dominant 107-89 Game One win over Dallas.

Boston’s lead ballooned to as many as 29 points (in the first half, mind you) before Dallas cut into it to come within eight points (72-64) about midway through the third quarter. But a 14-2 run by Boston to end the quarter killed the Mavericks run, and squashed any hopes of a Dallas comeback.

Here are the top-10 takeaways from Game One of the NBA Finals:

1. Jaylen Brown is That Dude!

    Coming off the heels of being named Eastern Conference finals MVP, Jaylen Brown picked up where he left off. He led the Celtics with 22 points, including six during a critical third-quarter stretch that pushed Boston’s lead back to double digits for good. He’s the early front-runner for NBA Finals MVP.

    2. Historic Game for Luka Doncic

    In his NBA Finals debut, the Dallas Mavericks star had 30 points and 10 rebounds, becoming the first player since Tim Duncan in 1999 to tally a double-double of 30 or more points and 10 or more rebounds in their first Finals game.

    3. Kyrie Irving’s Struggles Continue

    It’s no secret that ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving has been at his worst when facing his former team. Game 1 was yet another rough one for the All-Star guard as he scored just 12 points on 6-for-19 shooting.

    4. Tatum More of a Rebounder Than a Scorer

    The Mavericks didn’t allow Jayson Tatum to get into a consistent scoring rhythm. So he instead impacted the game on the boards, grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds which would turn out to be one of the keys to Boston’s victory.

    5. Few Game One “Celebrity” Sightings

    Boston is widely considered a major city, but you wouldn’t know it by the sparse number of non-athlete celebrities that turned out for Game One.

    Donnie and Mark Wahlberg, as well as Jenny McCarthy (Donnie’s wife) were the only non-athlete celebrities at the game.

    6. The Return of Porzingis

    Kristaps Porzingis returned to the Boston Celtics lineup after missing the previous 10 games with a calf injury. He didn’t waste any time making an impact, scoring 18 of his 20 points off the bench in the first half.

    7. Horford’s Elite Game Defensively

    As the elder statesman in the Finals, Dallas tried to get the 38-year-old Al Horford matched up against the Mavericks’ best player, Luka Doncic. This was surprisingly lopsided in Horford’s favor, with Doncic missing seven of his eight shot attempts with Horford as the primary defender. He was 11-for-18 shooting against the rest of the Celtics.

    8. Mavs’ Bad 3-point Shooting, the Sequel

    The 3-point shot wasn’t falling for the Dallas Mavericks, shooting 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) from 3-point range. As bad as that was, it wasn’t all that different from their struggles to make 3-pointers the last time they played in Boston. On March 1 in Boston, the Celtics beat Dallas by 28 points with the Mavericks shooting 9-for-34 (26.5 percent) on 3-pointers.

    9. Streaking Celtics

    With their Game One win, the Celtics have now won a franchise-record eight straight playoff games, breaking the mark set by the 1986 team which went on to win an NBA title that season.

    10. Tatum Climbing the Charts

    With 16 points scored in Game One, Jayson Tatum now ranks 40th on the NBA’s all-time playoff points list, passing former Celtic Kevin Garnett (2,601). Tatum, 26, will now likely pass another Celtic great, Bill Russell (2,673 points), before the Finals are over.

    Updated: June 7, 2024 — 12:02 pm