HomeNewsBoston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks Game 1: Luka Doncic's Comeback Bid Falls...

Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks Game 1: Luka Doncic’s Comeback Bid Falls Short in Hard-Fought Battle

Even though it was his first game in the NBA Finals, Doncic scored 30 points without receiving any assists

There was a short period in the third quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals when it seemed like Luka Doncic could defeat the Boston Celtics on his own.  And maybe the Dallas Mavericks superstar won’t find it that difficult to earn a ring after all.

He executed a spectacular step-back. What had been a humiliating Celtics defeat was suddenly a 13-point game. After a Doncic steal, the ball found its way to Kyrie Irving, who made a nice fadeaway. 11-point game.

Then, less than a minute later, Doncic made another step-back. Now the margin was just 8 points, and the Celtics’ 29-point lead from the first half looked so distant. That raucous Boston Garden crowd of confident supporters that had been rocking, laughing, and flaunting seemed to be diminishing, receding, and fading.

Behind me, a raucous Celtics supporter who had been cocky and confident in the first half shattered the hush. “F— no,” he said. “Doncic.”

Donic is 25 years old, making him years younger than the guys he will most likely battle with for championships, awards, and fame. There is only so much gear to go around, and only so many rings can be won.

His close buddy Nikola Jokic won a championship and three MVP awards. Giannis Antetokounmpo has one and two, respectively. Joel Embiid has not yet won or gone to the Finals, but he does have an MVP.

Luka doesn’t have any of those things yet, but in that spectacular burst of excellence Thursday night, beneath the swaying fury of Celtics green, he seemed to be well on his way. Perhaps it was his time. Perhaps this search was inevitable. Perhaps a 29-point deficit seemed like nothing in the face of this deep, dangerous, and hungry Celtics squad.

After Jaylen Brown converted one of two free throws, and the Celtics’ nine-point advantage seemed more like a 10-point loss, Doncic grabbed the rebound, moved the ball up the court, and it found its way back into Irving’s skilled hands.

A three-point shot. A shot to reduce the deficit to 6. An opportunity to take this game, this series, and turn everything around in one incredible night in Boston.

It turns out that this intended championship run, whether successful or not, will be very tough. Winning has always been the goal. It’s why the line between a ring and a sour memory may be so razor-thin that it borders on cruelty. Getting here is so tough that you may take it for granted once you do. Will you be returning? That may be much tougher.

He hasn’t had a title since winning in 2021, ask Giannis. Ask Jokic, who seemed set to revive the time-honored history of NBA dynasties. The Nuggets were eliminated in this year’s second round. You could ask Embiid, but he is still attempting to make his way to the Finals for the first time.

Ask the many greats who have reached the finals but never completed the job. Doncic must now work very hard to keep his name off a list that includes Chris Paul, James Harden, and Karl Malone. Thursday night was just one game, albeit a 107-89 blowout. However, it was a sour start, serving as a clear reminder that greatness does not come easy.

Doncic didn’t receive much support. His bench was gone for most of the game. Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II were silent. That Celtics defense dominated the Mavs all night, leaving Donic, who ended with 30 points on 12-of-26 shooting, including 4 of 12 from long, largely alone on the court.

Even Kyrie, a late-game mainstay in these playoffs who has often rode to Doncic’s rescue on route to this Finals trip, was unable to deliver this time. Not on his return to his old haunts, pun intended. While Doncic scored 10 points in the third quarter, indicating a potential series-shifting comeback, aid never came.

Shortly after Irving missed that key three, Jaylen Brown ruthlessly blocked his attempt, and the Boston Garden found its voice again, chanting, “Kyrie sucks!””Kyrie sucks!” is repeated again and again. The Celtics, full of confidence once again, never looked back.

Irving does not “suck.” Throughout the game, he was agitated, outmatched, and missing. He only scored 12 points on 6-of-19 shooting. He missed all five of his three-point shots.

That’s another harsh fact of attempting to win a title: you need aid, no matter who you are. LeBron James couldn’t do it alone in the 2015 NBA Finals when Irving was sidelined. Steph Curry was unable to overcome Toronto in 2019 because of the injuries of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.

But glory, rings, and legacies don’t care about any of that, and the Western Conference in the coming years is set to be a terrifying, violent place. The Mavericks are good enough to return here. But that might be true for the frightening number of teams they’ll have to face if they want to return.

Even Jason Kidd agreed in an interview last week that if the Mavs win the series, Doncic might become the greatest Maverick of all time.

Abu Bakar
Abu Bakar
Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.


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