The Dallas Mavericks put up a valiant effort against the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, but their fourth quarter rally ultimately fell short as they lost by seven points, 106-99.

The Mavericks trailed by a high of 21, 91-70, early in the final period after Boston’s Derrick White hit a three-pointer with 11:07 left in the contest. This capped off a 20-5 run by the Celtics that spanned the last five minutes of the third quarter and the first minute of the fourth period that seemed to have blown open the match.

However, Dallas refused to quit and put together an impressive team effort that brought them within a point, 93-92, with 3:37 left in the contest. Over the course of the Mavericks’ 22-2 run, P.J. Washington scored eight points while Kyrie Irving added seven.

That proved to be the closest that Dallas would get to Boston though for the rest of the night. Luka Doncic fouled out in the midst of their run at the 4:12 mark of the fourth quarter which left Irving alone as the sole playmaker on the floor for the Mavericks.


This caused Dallas’ offense to stall, yet they somehow found a way to stay close. Two consecutive dunks by Dereck Lively II brought them with two points, 100-98, with 1:20 remaining on the game clock. Jaylen Brown responded with a tough midrange jumper to bring the Celtics’ lead back up to four then Washington missed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession which essentially ended the match.

The Mavericks are now down 3-0 in these NBA Finals which is a deficit that no team has managed to come back from in league history.

While the results of the first three games of this series are hardly a surprise given that Boston clearly has the better line-up, Dallas was also unable to capitalize on the opportunities presented to them to win both Games 2 and 3.

The Celtics’ third quarter run in Game 3 was very much avoidable for the Mavericks. It was fueled by Boston’s second unit, particularly Sam Hauser and Xavier Tillman, whose timely shots seemed to have overwhelmed Dallas.

Meanwhile, the supporting cast of the Mavericks outside of Washington and Lively were largely disappointing. Daniel Gafford, Derrick Jones Jr., Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Maxi Kleber contributed close to nothing and if this does not change in Game 4, it is difficult to imagine Dallas avoiding a sweep.

Though a comeback from being down 3-0 has never been done before, the Mavericks must remember that this series is still far from over. Their veteran leader Irving is no stranger to overcoming deficits in the NBA Finals. He played a prominent role alongside LeBron James eight years ago when the Cleveland Cavaliers stormed back from the Golden State Warriors’ 3-1 lead to win the 2016 NBA title.

Doncic is also no stranger to making history, as his efforts in these playoffs made him the first player to enter the NBA Finals as the postseason leader in points, rebounds, and assists. This is in addition to his many other firsts that he has accumulated over his six-year NBA career.

Dallas has the right personnel in Doncic and Irving to make this comeback possible, but before they can set their sights on making history, they must first focus on securing a win in Game 4.