The stage is set for the grand finale of the 2023-24 NBA Finals, with the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics locking horns in a best-of-seven series that starts this Friday in Beantown. Will the Mavericks leave the Boston crowd stunned? Or, will the Celtics flex their muscles and drew first blood?

Catch this game live on Friday, June 7, 2024 at 8:30 AM, Manila time

Away: Dallas Mavericks (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

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

The Mavericks are the underdogs going into the 2024 NBA Finals, but they’re used to defying that label in these playoffs. Dallas was the underdog in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers, versus the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round, and opposite the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference finals. With Luka Doncic leading Dallas’ attack and with the Mavericks’ supporting cast putting up big performances. Jason Kidd’s squad has done nothing but send shockwaves across the league this postseason. 

Doncic is regarded as the most important player in the finals after averaging 28.8 points, 8.8 assists, and 9.6 rebounds in the first three rounds. Without a doubt, Boston has a target on his back, but that was also the case in the previous matchups. Against the Timberwolves, who had the best scoring defense in the regular season, Doncic averaged 32.3 points and shot 46.5 percent from deep. Another man on a mission for Dallas is Kyrie Irving, who averaged 26.3 points and shot 41.4 3FG% in the Timberwolves series.

Defensively, the Mavs should give Boston trouble in the paint. This postseason, the Mavericks have limited opponents to just 56.8% shooting on shots taken less than five feet from the basket and only 37.4% on 5-9 feet attempts.


Home: Boston Celtics (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Derrick White
  • Jaylen Brown
  • Jayson Tatum
  • Kristaps Porzingis 

As if they aren’t scary enough, the Celtics just got healthier with big man Kristaps Porzingis expected to play in Game 1 versus Dallas after missing the previous two rounds. Porzingis went down with a lower-body injury in the Miami Heat series and missed Boston’s trip to the second and third rounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers, respectively. Even without the Latvian, the Celtics crushed the Cavs and the Pacers for a combined win-loss record of 8-1. 

The Celtics have the tools to keep up with the Mavs’ offense and also soften the impact of Dallas’ defense. Among all teams that made the postseason, Boston is second with a 119.6 offensive rating and third with a 108.7. The Celtics’ 10.8 net rating is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in the playoffs. And again, they mustered those numbers mostly without the help of Porzingis. 

With a five-out unit, the Celtics could also thwart Dallas’ defense which appears to be better at stopping people inside than out on the perimeter. The Celtics are making 14.6 threes per game on 36.8 3FG% in the postseason.


Spread: Boston Celtics (-6.5)

Over/Under: Over (215.0)