NBA Playoffs

Mavs avoid sweep with historic Game 4 rout of Celtics in NBA Finals

Dallas' 38-point win marked the third-largest blowout in NBA Finals history.

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Put those brooms away.

The Dallas Mavericks staved off elimination in the 2024 NBA Finals on Friday with a 122-84 Game 4 rout of the Boston Celtics at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Celtics were looking to become just the 10th team to ever record a 4-0 sweep in the NBA Finals, but they wound up being on the wrong side of history.

Dallas' 38-point win marked the third-largest blowout in NBA Finals history. The largest Finals victory ever was the Chicago Bulls' 42-point Game 3 win over the Utah Jazz in 1998. The Celtics in 2008 recorded a 39-point Game 6 Finals win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

“It's real simple. We don't have to complicate this. This isn't surgery,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd told reporters postgame. “Our group was ready to go. They were ready to celebrate and we made a stand. We were desperate. We've got to continue to keep playing that way. They're trying to close the door. The hardest thing in this league is to close the door when you have a group that has nothing to lose. Tonight, you saw that.”

The Mavs held a 13-point advantage over Boston after the first quarter and they doubled their lead by halftime with a score of 61-35. Luka Doncic and Co. didn't let their foot off the gas to start the second half, either, forcing Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla to empty the bench with three minutes remaining in the third quarter as the game got out of hand.

The Mavericks led by as many as 48 points in the second half, marking the largest lead in an NBA Finals game in at least 50 years, according to ESPN.

Doncic powered Dallas' historic victory by scoring 25 of his game-high 29 points in the first half, adding five rebounds and three assists. Kyrie Irving tallied 21 points, six assists and four rebounds. The Mavs, who shot a blistering 50.5% from the field and 40.5% from 3 (15-for-37), dominated the paint, outscoring Boston 60-26.

The Mavs were also stout defensively, holding the Celtics to 36.3% from the field and 34.1% from 3 (14-for-41). Boston's star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for just 25 points of 7-for-22 shooting.

“Preparation doesn’t guarantee an automatic success,” Mazzulla said. “I thought we had a great process. I thought we had a great shootaround. Thought we had a great film session yesterday. I thought the guys came out with the right intentions. I just didn’t think it went our way, and I thought Dallas outplayed us. They just played harder.”

The series now shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night. Dallas is trying to become the first team in NBA playoff history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.

“It doesn't change anything,” Doncic said. “Like I said in the beginning of this series, it's the first to four. And we're going to believe until the end. We're just going to keep going. I have big belief in this team that we can do it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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