NBA

NBA: Mavericks roll past Celtics to avoid sweep in NBA Finals

By Sports Desk June 14, 2024

Luka Dončić scored 25 of his 29 points in a dominant first half and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 122-84 rout of the Boston Celtics to avoid a sweep in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.

Kyrie Irving added 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored all 15 of his in the fourth quarter for the Mavericks, who forced the series back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night.

Dallas opened a 13-point lead after one quarter, were up 26 at halftime and led by as many as 38 in the third before both sides emptied their benches.

Dereck Lively had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavs, and connected on the first 3-pointer of his NBA career midway through the first quarter.

The 38-point final margin was the third-biggest ever in an NBA Finals game, behind only Chicago beating Utah 96-54 in 1998 and the Celtics beating the Lakers 131-92 in 2008.

Jayson Tatum scored 15 points and Sam Hauser had 14 for Boston, which had its franchise-record, 10-game postseason winning streak snapped.

The Celtics shot 36.3 percent (29 for 80) from the field and were outrebounded 52-31.

The 35 points in the first half represented their lowest-scoring total in a half in Joe Mazzulla’s two seasons as coach. The 26-point deficit at halftime was Boston’s largest ever in an NBA Finals game.

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    Sharpshooting Bahamian Buddy Hield expressed excitement at the opportunity to play for the Golden State Warriors in his first interaction with Warriors media on Thursday.

    The 31-year-old joined the seven-time NBA Champions through a sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers in early July.

    The Warriors will be the fifth team Hield has represented since being drafted sixth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2016 NBA Draft.

    “Excited! Excited for the opportunity to come in here and learn from great players, a great organization, great coach, and be a sponge and an open book to everybody around me,” was Hield’s response to a question about his emotions heading into his first season in San Francisco.

    Hield was brought in by the Warriors as a like-for-like replacement for franchise legend Klay Thompson who left for the Dallas Mavericks in Free Agency after 13 seasons and four titles with the Warriors.

    The Bahamian says he isn’t feeling the pressure of trying to replicate what Thompson gave the Warriors.

    “There’s no pressure, I just have to come and do my job. What Klay has done for this organization has been tremendous. I love Klay a lot and I watched him over the years and he’s special,” he said.

    “The way he can get hot and change the game as a two-way player. I think it’s fun being in that role,” he added.

    One of the hallmarks of the Warriors during their run of dominance in the Steph Curry-Draymond Green-Klay Thompson era has been their complicated offensive scheme.

    Hield believes practice is the key to learning where he fits into the offense quickly.

    “Taking it day by day in practice, watching a lot of film. Practice will be really important. I’ve watched these guys play since college. Even in the pros when they play, they’re always a fun team to watch,” he said.

    “I think it’s a great fit and it shouldn’t be that hard but everything takes time,” he added.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Clippers trading Westbrook to Jazz, clearing move for guard to join Nuggets Clippers trading Westbrook to Jazz, clearing move for guard to join Nuggets

    Russell Westbrook is on the move once again, but isn't yet at his final destination.

    The Los Angeles Clippers agreed to send Westbrook to the Utah Jazz on Thursday, as part of a sign-and-trade deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

    The Jazz are expected to reach a contract buyout agreement with Westbrook, opening the door for him to join the Denver Nuggets.

    Denver will be the sixth team Westbrook has played for in the last seven seasons.

    To complete the trade, Utah will also receive a swap of second-round draft picks and cash from Los Angeles, while shipping guard Kris Dunn to the Clippers.

    The 35-year-old Westbrook was named the NBA MVP in 2016-17, averaging a career-high 31.6 points, along with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists.

    In 2023-24 for the Clippers, he averaged career lows of 11.1 points and 4.5 assists with 5 boards. He came off the bench in 57 of the 68 games he played, shooting 27.3 per cent from 3-point range - the second-lowest mark among the 226 players with at least 150 attempts from beyond the arc.

    The Nuggets still believe he can provide depth off the bench and help them make another run at a title after being eliminated in the Western Conference semi-finals in May.

    The Clippers were ousted by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, with Westbrook averaging 6.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in the six play-off games.

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    Dunn has career averages of 7.9 points, 4.2 assists and 3.3 boards since being drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2016.

    In starting 32 of 66 games for the Jazz last season, the 30-year-old Dunn averaged 5.4 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds.

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    Kyrie Irving has undergone surgery on a broken hand, but is expected to be fit for the start of next season.

    Irving was part of the Dallas Mavericks team that reached the NBA Finals, only to go down to the dominant Boston Celtics.

    The 32-year-old sustained his injury while training earlier in July, and has now gone through surgery to fix the issue.

    Posting on X, Irving wrote: "Tribe, Thank you for all the messages and prayers. God truly knew that I needed to take a break from basketball after the long season and give myself some time to heal.

    "I am in love with getting better at my craft, but now I must rest and recover."

    While the Mavs did not confirm a timetable for Irving's return, it has been reported he is anticipated to return to action in around two and a half months.

    The 2024-25 season is set to begin in October.

    Irving averaged 25.6 points per game in the regular season across 2023-24.

    The Mavs have brought in Klay Thompson as a free agent this off-season.

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