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The Celtics Punch First And Blow Out The Mavs In Dominant Fashion To Take Game 1

Maddie Meyer. Getty Images.

3 MORE.

Now THAT is how you make an opening statement to the NBA Finals. After all that time being told that the Dallas Mavericks were some sort of unstoppable force because they play in the Western Conference and that the Celtics would be in a world of pain trying to match that level given their "cupcake" playoff run, I'd say they passed the first test with flying colors.

The one thing we're not going to do is try and pretend like this series is over. Fuck that. Learn from 2022. There's a whole lot of basketball left to be played and more work to be done, but for the moment, how could you not enjoy a complete and utter ass kicking. Make no mistake, that's what Game 1 was. Whether it was KP completely destroying everything the Mavs threw at him

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and not only looking 100%, but looking like a player that hasn't missed a single second of action this whole run. What the hell even was that? Brad Stevens you sneaky sonofabitch! KP was really healthy this whole time I guess which I have to admit, is a big fucking deal. You see it, you see how he's a complete matchup nightmare. The Mavs have no choice but to switch, which we all know is a death sentence as soon as you realize you're asking that smaller player to guard a 7'2 unicorn in space. I had no idea what to expect in KP's return, but it sure as shit wasn't this. I mean, he looked incredible right from the jump. 

While I think we'll all take any type of win we can get at this stage, what I loved about Game 1 was the fact that even in a blowout, the Celts still faced adversity. They got a taste of just how dangerous Luka can be. Once things got down to 8, it was a turning point. Would they crumble and let the Mavs come back, or would they punch back with an immediate response? A quick 14-0 run got the lead back up to 22 and the rest was history. 

That's the type of maturity and resiliency that will win you the NBA title. To no one's surprise, it all started on the defensive end. Jaylen's efforts both on and off ball helped turn the tide

and arguably the biggest story of the night was what the Celtics defense did to the supposed best offensive backcourt in NBA history. Luka/Kyrie were mostly non factors, with Kyrie putting in a 6-19 (0-5) and Luka a tough 12-26 with only 1 AST. That's pretty fucking crazy considering what forces both guys are offensively. It wasn't one guy, it was everyone making a collective effort. Celts were great at staying home and patient on Luka drives, and Kyrie had contested looks until he lost his rhythm, then the wide open bricks arrived. The Mavs are not going to be able to win this series if they're scoring just 89 points, not when they have such an uphill battle to climb via the math.

You see, the Celts went 16-42 (38%) from deep in this game. Mavs, 7-27. You're unfortunately in a bit of a pickle if the Celts are making 9 more 3PM and are shooting over 32%. They cross that 32% number, they almost never lose. Trading 2s for 3s isn't going to work in this matchup, and the Celts completely removing the Mavs' corner 3PA was a huge reason why they were held to such a low total. No corner 3s and no lobs.

In all honesty, the Celts can play way better than we saw in Game 1, a game they won by 18 points. Tatum didn't shoot the ball all that great and had 6 TOs, and they did only score 44 points in the second half. That's not all that great. 

But at the end of the day, it's not about how you get the wins, it's just about getting them. Being first to 4 is all that matters, and so far so good. We all wanted to see a dominant performance to open the Finals, and the Celtics gave it to us. Now just do it 3 more times.

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We'll regroup in the morning to talk about the details. For now, enjoy the next few days until Game 2. 

13 down, 3 to go