NBA Finals Game 1 recap: Kristaps Porzingis returns, leads Celtics over Mavericks (2024)

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics established their elite offensive and defensive presence in Game 1 of the NBA Finals with a 107-89 victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis’ return to the rotation after missing 10 games since April 29 with a calf injury boosted two-way production that overwhelmed the Mavs for much of the game.

Porzingis, used as a reserve while Al Horford started, scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half and added six rebounds and three blocks.

Boston had balanced scoring with five other players reaching double figures: Jayson Tatum (16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists), Jaylen Brown (22 points, six rebounds, three steals and three blocks), Derrick White (15 points), Jrue Holiday (12 points, eight rebounds and five assists) and Horford (10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks).

Boston – the No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense in the regular season – shot 47.6% from the field and 38.1% on 3-pointers.

The Celtics built a 29-point, first-half lead, managed a run by the Mavs that cut their lead to single digits, opened up another 20-point margin and took a 1-0 series lead.

The Game 1 winner in the NBA Finals wins the series 70.1% of the time, and the Game 1 winner at home wins the Finals 78% of the time.

Game 2 is Sunday in Boston (8 p.m. ET, ABC).

NBA Finals Game 1 recap: Kristaps Porzingis returns, leads Celtics over Mavericks (1)

The Mavs struggled offensively, too. Playing in his first Finals, Doncic had 30 points on 12-for-26 shooting, 10 rebounds but just one assist. The one assist is not a formula for success for the Mavs, and they had just nine assists – their lowest output of the season.

Dallas shot 41.7% from the field and 25.9% from 3-point land, and Kyrie Irving had just 12 points and missed 13 of 19 shots, including his five 3-point attempts. It was the Mavs' lowest scoring output of the postseason.

Boston blocked nine shots, created turnovers and applied the offensive and defensive pressure that made it the best regular-season team and the favorite to win the title.

Follow USA TODAY Sports throughout the playoffs for the latest news, scores and highlights from the NBA Finals.

Watch the highlights from NBA Finals Game 1

Kristaps Porzingis makes instant impact off bench in return

BOSTON –CelticscenterKristaps Porzingishad started 472 of 473 games in his career, playoffs included, prior to Game 1 ofthe NBA Finals.

Coming off the bench for just the second time in his career and playing in his first game sincesustaining a calf injury April 29, Porzingis scored 20 points, including 18 in the first half, and added six rebounds and three blocks as theCeltics defeated the Dallas Mavericks 107-89Thursday.

“Getting on the court (and) getting that kind of support was unreal,” Porzingis said of the Celtics fans. “The adrenaline was pumping through my veins and that definitely helped.

“Obviously it wasn't ideal that I was out for such a long time, but I did everything I could to prepare mentally for this moment coming back and it paid off and we got the job done tonight and had a good game and happy about the result.”

Read Jeff Zillgitt's full story here.

Kyrie Irving has quiet Game 1

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving knew Boston would be an unfriendly environment. It’s been that way for a few years now.

The TD Garden crowd serenaded the former Celtics guard with boos from the moment he touched the ball in warmups until he checked out for the final time with 5:17 left in the game. Celtics fans weren’t happy to see him and, based on Irving’s performance in theMavericks' loss in Game 1 of the NBA Finalson Thursday, he wasn’t too happy out there, either.

“There were a lot of emotions going into it,” Irving said. “Just waiting for the opportunity to compete against a great Celtics team. We didn’t perform the way we wanted to tonight, and that starts with me … gotta take some accountability.

“It’s not the first time I lost in Boston.”

Irving managed 12 points on 6-of-19 shooting to go with three turnovers. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts as theCeltics rolled to a decisive 107-89 victory. Irving has lost each of his last 11 games against Boston dating to his time with the Brooklyn Nets in 2022.

Read Richard Morin's full story here.

3Q: Boston 86, Dallas 66

Double-digit leads aren’t safe in the NBA and Game 1 of the NBA Finals is proving that.

The Celtics had a 21-point lead at halftime, marking the third biggest Game 1 lead in NBA Finals history, according to Basketball Reference. But that was quickly erased. The Mavericks came out strong in the quarter and cut their deficit to eight points, thanks to a dominant performance by Luka Doncic. He scored 10 of his 27 points in the third quarter, including a pair of threes. He has a double-double already with 10 rebounds, two steals and one assist.

But the Celtics went on a 14-2 run to stretch their lead back to 20 points.

Kristaps Porzingis leads the Celtics with 20 points off the bench in his first game since April 29. Jaylen Brown has 19 points, while Jayson Tatum added 13.

Kyrie Irving has 12 points and PJ Washington has 10 points for Dallas. Dereck Lively II, who is in foul trouble with five fouls, has five points.– Cydney Henderson

2Q: Boston 63, Dallas 42

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are on fire.

The Eastern Conference champs could not be stopped in the first half, taking a commanding 63-42 lead over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday at TD Garden.

Kristaps Porzingis, in his first game action since April 29, posted a game-high 18 points in 12 minutes and added three rebounds and two blocks. Jaylen Brown added 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

NBA Finals Game 1 recap: Kristaps Porzingis returns, leads Celtics over Mavericks (2)

The Celtics shot 55% from the field and 41% from 3-point range while the Mavericks struggled to find offense. Luka Doncic, with a team-high 17 points in the half, committed a team-high three turnovers. Dallas was 3-for-13 on 3-point shots.

Kyrie Irving also struggled as boos rained down from the Beantown crowd. The former Celtics guard made just three field goals and was a minus-18 in the half.

It isn’t the first Game 1 the Mavericks have come out cold on offense during this playoffs season. Dallas scored just 30 first-half points in a Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and, despite losing that game, went on to win the series. – Richard Morin

Mark Wahlberg, Jalen Hurts among stars at TD Garden

It’s a star-studded affair at TD Garden.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals brought out dozens of famous faces, including Boston native and Celtics superfan Mark Wahlberg, who got extra loud after Kristaps Porzingis slammed down a dunk in the first quarter.Wahlberg’s brother Donnie and sister-in-law Jenny McCarthy joined him.

UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, Philadelphia Eagles stars Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown, UFC president Dana White and Las Vegas Raider Maxx Crosby are among the stars in the building.– Cydney Henderson

1Q: Boston 37, Dallas 20

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics used hot 3-point shooting and the return of center Kristaps Porzingis to take a 37-20 lead after the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Celtics made 7-for-15 3s, and Porzingis, playing his first game since injuring his right calf April 29 and coming off the bench, had 11 points, three blocks, three rebounds and two blocks in seven minutes.

Boston had balanced scoring: Derrick White had six points on two 3-pointers, Al Horford scored five points, Jrue Holiday had five points and Jaylen Brown added four. Celtics star Jayson Tatum went scoreless until a 3-pointer with 1:37 left in the quarter, and he contributed four rebounds and three steals.

Luka Doncic led Dallas with seven points, but the Mavericks shot just 37.5% from the field and 25% on 3s. – Jeff Zillgitt

NBA commish calls Caitlin Clark hard foul a 'welcome to the league moment'

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is the latest to weigh in on the treatment ofIndiana Fever superstar Caitlin Clark.

Clark was on the receiving end of ahard foul from Chicago's Chennedy Carterin the Fever’s 71-70 win over the Sky on Saturday. Carter had leveled Clark with a blindside, shoulder check on an inbound play.

The foul, which waslater upgraded to a Flagrant 1 by the WNBA, sparked discourse about the treatment of Clark by league veterans and whether the WNBA is doing enough to protect her.

"I don’t want to make too big an issue on one particular player and one particular call," Silversaidahead ofGame 1 of the NBA Finalsbetween theBoston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks, when asked about the foul. "But of course I want to see Caitlin (Clark) treated fairly and appropriately in the league."

Silver didn't get into the specifics of the foul, instead backing the discipline handed down by WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, but he did say the foul on Clark is a "welcome to the league" moment.

"As a fan, it's nothing new in basketball that there's sort of 'welcome to the league' moments, especially for heralded rookies. ... I will say it looks like she can take care of herself. She's a tough player," Silver said. "I look forward to watching her ongoing development in the league." – Cydney Henderson and Jeff Zillgitt

PJ Washington is in foul trouble early

PJ Washington headed to the bench early with 4:17 remaining in the first quarter after he picked up his second foul. Washington has two points in eight minutes of play. Maxi Kleber entered the game for Washington.– Cydney Henderson

Kristaps Porzingis dunks, extends Celtics' lead

BOSTON – The crowd at TD Garden wants Kristaps Porzingis to attack his defenders. So that's what he's doing.

Porzingis posted a game-high eight points in his first five minutes of action since suffering a right calf injury April 29. Porzingis, who came off the bench to relieve veteran Al Horford, entered to racuous cheers from the Boston faithful and made them even happier with an immediate impact that included two rebounds and a block in the first quarter — and a dramatic dunk that rose the decibel level. – Richard Morin

Kristaps Porzingis plays for the first time since April 29

BOSTON – Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis, who had been out with a right calf injury since April 29, rejoined the rotation in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Boston coach Joe Mazzulla decided to start Al Horford and use Porzingis as a reserve. He checked into Game 1 against Dallas with 7:17 left in the first quarter. Horford had five points, one rebound and one assist in his initial stint. Porzingis had an immediate impact with eight points, two rebounds and one block in his first five minutes. – Jeff Zillgitt

NBA Finals Game 1 recap: Kristaps Porzingis returns, leads Celtics over Mavericks (3)

Who sang the national anthem?

Singer Michelle Brooks-Thompson had the honor of singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden. The Springfield, Massachusetts, native appeared on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2012 and was on Team Adam Levine.

Cydney Henderson

What time is NBA Finals Game 1?

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET from TD Garden in Boston.

How to watch NBA Finals Game 1

ABC will broadcast every game of the 2024 NBA Finals.

How to stream NBA Finals Game 1

Each game of the 2024 NBA Finals can be streamed on ESPN+ or on Fubo.

NBA Finals schedule

  • Thursday: Boston 107, Dallas 89
  • Sunday, June 9: Game 2 at Boston, 8 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Wednesday, June 12: Game 3 at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Friday, June 14: Game 4 at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC
  • *Monday, June 17: Game 5 at Boston, 8:30 p.m. on ABC
  • *Thursday, June 20: Game 6 at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. on ABC
  • *Sunday, June 23: Game 7 at Boston, 8 p.m. on ABC

*- if necessary

Celtics starting lineup

  • Jaylen Brown
  • Jayson Tatum
  • Al Horford
  • Derrick White
  • Jrue Holiday

Mavericks starting lineup

  • Derrick Jones Jr.
  • P.J. Washington
  • Daniel Gafford
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Luka Doncic

Bill Walton to be honored during Game 1

As the Celtics try to go for their 18th NBA title, they will honor the legacy of someone who helped them win one of their banners.

Boston and Dallas players will be wearing Bill Walton-inspired warm-ups prior to Thursday’s game, which are black shirts that say “Walton” in the tie-dye colors he was known to wear. Pins honoring Walton are also being passed around the arena, and his family – wife Lori and his four sons Adam, Nathan, Luke and Chris – will be in attendance for the game.

Walton was a member of Boston’s 1986 NBA title team.

"Bill was someone who became a very close friend in the over 30 years that I've been with the league," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said before Game 1. "Many of you in this room have been covering the league for a long time, as well, and he traveled with us everywhere we went. I remember the first time we played in China, in 2004, being on the Great Wall with him. He was quite an adventurer. I can't think of a better ambassador for the NBA than Bill. He enjoyed talking to every single person."

An American original, Walton led a remarkable life on and off the court, excelling in basketball and dabbling in the counterculture scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He remained connected to both throughout his life as basketball player and TV analyst and lifelong fan of the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. He died after battling cancer on May 24 at age 71. – Jordan Mendoza and Jeff Zillgitt

Kristaps Porzingis will play for the Celtics in the NBA Finals

Kristaps Porzingis was not listed on Boston’s injury report, makinghis return to the playoffs imminentin Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

“I will play (Thursday),” Porzingis said.He is not on a minutes restriction and will come off the bench.

Porzingis has been out since April 29 when he sustained a strained right calf.

Luka Dončic, Kristaps Porzingis duel in NBA Finals

After their partnership with the Mavericks stalled, Luka Dončic and Kristaps Porzingis will face off on opposing sides for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Why didn’t it work? Did Dončic dislike Porzingis? Did Porzingis dislike Dončic? That was among the most asked questions at NBA Finals media day Wednesday.Read Jeff Zillgitt’s story.

NBA Finals predictions

Here are USA TODAY Sports’ NBA experts’ picks and predictions for the 2024 NBA Finals:

  • Scooby Axson: Celtics in 6
  • Cydney Henderson: Mavericks in 6
  • Lindsay Schnell: Mavericks in 7
  • Jeff Zillgitt: Celtics in 6

NBA Finals Game 1 predictions

Here are USA TODAY Sports’ NBA experts’ picks and predictions for Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals:

  • Scooby Axson: Celtics 116, Mavericks 105
  • Mike Freeman: Mavericks 118, Celtics 110
  • Lindsay Schnell: Celtics 108, Mavericks 101
  • Jeff Zillgitt: Celtics 115, Mavericks 109

NBA TV analyst Doris Burke going in record books again

Doris Burke is making history.

Burke will become the first female TV analyst for a major men's professional championship event once Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

The historic moment is not lost on Burke, although she said she’s trying her best not to think about it.

“Well I’m trying to ignore the weight for now if there is in fact any,” Burke said in a video shared to social media by the NBA. “One of the things I’ve done my entire career is just sort of think, ‘What’s my next game and how do I best prepare for it?’ If I keep it in that context, it helps me to relax and just enjoy what’s in front of me, so Good Lord willing, I’m able to do that tonight.”

Burke was named to ESPN’s lead NBA broadcasting team in August, alongside Mike Breen and Doc Rivers, after ESPN parted ways with Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. JJ Reddick later replaced Rivers in February after Rivers became the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. – Cydney Henderson

NBA Finals Game 1 uniforms

The Celtics will be donning their “association edition,” which are their traditional home white uniforms, in Game 1. The Mavericks will be wearing their “city edition” black uniform with “Mavs” written on the front of the jersey.

The uniform lineup for the first four games of the series is available on NBA LockerVision.– Jordan Mendoza

Who are NBA Finals Game 1 referees?

Twelve referees were selected to officiate the NBA Finals, and three will take charge of the whistle Thursday. The referees for Game 1 are:

  • Zach Zarba (11th Finals)
  • Josh Tiven (5th Finals)
  • Courtney Kirkland (4th Finals)

Jordan Mendoza

NBA Finals Game 1 recap: Kristaps Porzingis returns, leads Celtics over Mavericks (5)

Kyrie Irving’s complicated route back to NBA Finals

Kyrie Irving will play in his fourth career NBA Finals and played a major role in the Mavericks’ Western Conference championship. He has rekindled his career and reshaped his story this season. And if Dallas wins the title, Irving will have played a major role – and he will have done it against one of his former teams.Read Jeff Zillgitt’s story.

Joe Mazzulla, Jason Kidd make NBA Finals history

The year was 1975. It wouldn't be long before Apple computer was founded. A show called “Saturday Night Live” premiered on NBC. There was Disco, 8-track players and bell-bottom pants.

Also, that year the NBA Finals featured two Black head coaches in Golden State's Al Attles and Washington's K.C. Jones. It wasn't just the first time two Black head coaches faced off in the Finals, it was also thefirst major sports championship in U.S. history featuring two Black head coaches.

We fast-forward to now (minus the bell-bottoms). There are again two Black head coaches in the NBA Finals.Read Mike Freeman’s column.

Celtics playoff schedule

  • Earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference
  • Eastern Conference first round: Beat No. 8 Miami Heat in five games
  • Eastern Conference semifinals: Beat No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers in five games
  • Eastern Conference finals: Beat No. 6 Indiana Pacers in four games

Mavericks playoff schedule

  • Earned the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference
  • Western Conference first round: Beat No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers in six games
  • Western Conference semifinals: Beat No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder in six games
  • Western Conference finals: Beat No. 3 Minnesota Timberwolves in five games

Celtics vs. Mavericks regular season series

The Celtics went 2-0 against the Mavericks during the regular season.

Jayson Tatum scored 39 points with 11 rebounds in Boston’s 119-110 victory in Dallas on Jan. 22.

Tatum led the way again with 32 points and eight rebounds on March 1, when Boston won 138-110.

NBA Finals odds

According to BetMGM, the Celtics are –225 to win the NBA championship against the Mavericks. Dallas is +180.

NBA Finals MVP odds

According to BetMGM:

  • Jayson Tatum, Celtics: -120
  • Luka Dončić, Mavericks +200
  • Jaylen Brown, Celtics +625
  • Kyrie Irving, Mavericks +1800
  • Derrick White, Celtics +3000

Celtics coaching staff

  • Head coach: Joe Mazzulla
  • Assistant coach: Charles Lee
  • Assistant coach: Samuel Cassell
  • Assistant coach: Tony Dobbins
  • Assistant coach: Amile Jefferson
  • Assistant coach: DJ MacLeay
  • Assistant coach: Matthew Reynolds
  • Senior consultant: Jeff Van Gundy

Mavericks coaching staff

  • Head coach: Jason Kidd
  • Assistant coach: Darrell Armstrong
  • Assistant coach: Sean Sweeney
  • Assistant coach: Marko Milic
  • Assistant coach: Jared Dudley
  • Assistant coach: Keith Vaney
  • Assistant coach: Josh Broghamer
  • Assistant coach: Eric Hughes
  • Assistant coach: Alex Jensen
  • Head of player culture: God Shammgod

Celtics playoff stats

  • Points: Jayson Tatum 26.0 per game
  • Rebounds: Jayson Tatum 10.4 per game
  • Assists: Jayson Tatum 5.9 per game
  • Steals: Jrue Holiday 1.3 per game
  • Blocks: Derrick White 1.3 per game

Mavericks playoff stats

  • Points: Luka Dončic 28.8 per game
  • Rebounds: Luka Dončic 9.6 per game
  • Assists: Luka Dončic 8.8 per game
  • Steals: Luka Dončic 1.6 per game
  • Blocks: Daniel Gafford 1.8 per game

Celtics championships

Boston’s 17 NBA championships are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for most in league history. The Celtics’ last NBA Finals win came in 2008 when Doc Rivers’ team, led by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, knocked off the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers in six games. The Celtics lost in the NBA Finals in 2010 (to the Lakers in seven games) and 2022 (to the Golden State Warriors in six games).

Mavericks championship

Dallas has one NBA title to its name, coming in 2011 when Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd (the Mavericks’ current coach) beat the Miami Heat in six games. It was Miami’s first season as the Heatles, a nickname given due to their worldwide appeal with stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Mavericks went to the NBA Finals only one other time, losing in 2006 to a Heat team that had Wade, but also Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Terry and Antoine Walker.

Mark Cuban and the Mavericks sale

Don't expect to see Mark Cuban at the Finals. Remember, he agreed to sell the team last year.

The Adelson and Dumont families reached a binding agreement to purchase a majority ownership of the Dallas Mavericks from Cuban in November.

Miriam Adelson, the widow of Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder Sheldon Adelson, and her family said in an SEC filing it is selling $2 billion of LVS stock and “they currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering, along with additional cash on hand, to fund the purchase of a majority interest in a professional sports franchise pursuant to a binding purchase agreement, subject to customary league approvals.”

Cuban has been one of the NBA’s most prominent owners in the past two decades andone of the most fined, racking up nearly $4 million in fines — and that doesn’t include$10 million Cuban donatedto women’s groups followingan investigation into a toxic work environment, including sexual harassment and workplace misconduct, within the Mavericks’ organization. – Jeff ZIllgitt

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NBA Finals Game 1 recap: Kristaps Porzingis returns, leads Celtics over Mavericks (2024)


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