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Monday, June 10, 2024

NBA Finals: How Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are breaking down the Mavs protection

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Jrue Vacation led the Boston Celtics in scoring with 26 factors in Sport 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday. Requested about his offense in a walk-off interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, Vacation credited Jayson Tatum, who assisted on seven of his 11 made subject objectives.

“J.T. was taking it to the basket, they have been double-teaming him and he was making the best play,” Vacation stated.

When it comes to particular person scoring effectivity, Tatum wasn’t glorious. He completed with 18 factors on 6-for-22 capturing and missed six of his seven 3-point makes an attempt. To Vacation, although, that hardly mattered.

“The best way that he performed tonight, the way in which that he led us, moving into the paint, making performs, discovering me large open, it was all about him,” Vacation stated.

This can be a bizarre factor to say a few participant who’s capturing 31.6% from the sphere by two video games, however it seems that Dallas can not guard Tatum. The identical is true of Jaylen Brown, Boston’s different star wing. Time and again in Sport 2, Tatum and Brown attacked the Mavs off the dribble, compelled them to rotate and created benefits for his or her teammates. Regardless of the Celtics capturing simply 10 for 39 (25.6%) from 3-point vary, Tatum recorded 12 assists, Brown seven.

“We did not shoot the ball nowhere close to to our commonplace, however we saved attending to the paint, saved getting nice appears to be like,” Brown stated in a postgame interview on NBA TV. “All night time, I used to be simply attempting to create two-on-ones. All night time, I used to be simply driving, attempting to make the 5 assist after which simply trusting my teammates on the again aspect. I gotta care for the ball just a little bit extra, however I am going to take these appears to be like. Most video games, we’re going to have the ability to make these.”

Whereas the margin of victory was slimmer than it was in Sport 1, the distinction in model of play was simply as stark. Dallas, which shot extra nook 3s than another group within the NBA through the common season primarily as a result of opponents blitzed Luka Doncic greater than another participant, went 1-for-5 within the corners on Sunday. Boston’s protection principally stayed out of rotation, nudging Doncic and Kyrie Irving towards midrange jumpers. On the opposite aspect of the ground, it appeared just like the Mavericks have been always in rotation. Their perimeter defenders could not hold the Celtics’ playmakers in entrance of them, so that they needed to be in scramble mode.

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The scary factor, from Dallas’ perspective, is that there is no cause it ought to get any simpler defensively when the collection shifts to Texas for Video games 3 and 4. Boston spent all yr taking benefits of cross-matches, looking mismatches and forcing opponents into unattainable choices due to its spacing. It completed the common season with the second-most environment friendly offense in NBA historical past, and it would not give groups, just like the Mavs, who could make up for his or her stars’ defensive deficiencies towards most opponents, wherever to cover them. Maxi Kleber, the Mavs’ 6-foot-10 reserve large man, has served as their major defender on Kawhi Leonard in previous playoff matchups, and he’s their emergency, switch-everything choice at heart on this one. Here is Brown roasting him to ice the sport on Sunday:

The final time Vacation was within the Finals, as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, he took 20 pictures or extra in three of the six video games. In his large Sport 2 for the Celtics, he shot 11-for-14, following a 4-for-9 exhibiting within the opener. On this group, he now not has to provoke offense or take bail-out jumpers late in possessions fairly often, and he is extraordinarily overqualified for his tertiary playmaking function. Dallas cannot simply fear about Tatum and Brown going to work with a spaced ground; it has to fret about Vacation (and Derrick White) making performs after its protection has already been compromised.

“Jayson’s facilitating, Jaylen’s decision-making, that results in Jrue’s playmaking,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla informed reporters, “and the way in which that they are defending us, we’ve to make a number of performs. Now we have to have a number of drives. I feel Jrue did an incredible job — guys did an incredible job discovering him, he did an incredible job attacking closeouts after which both kicking it again out for a second drive or getting an open shot.”

Postgame, each Doncic and coach Jason Kidd sounded happy with how the Mavericks defended, however stated their offense wasn’t ok. Within the sense that Boston scored simply 110.5 factors per 100 possessions, far under its common charge, and Dallas could not take benefit, they’re proper. It might be harmful, although, to imagine that merely scoring higher will get the Mavs the win they so desperately want on Wednesday. If the Mavs cannot keep in entrance of anyone, they can not rely on the Celtics having one other off night time.

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