Jun 4, 2024 - Sports

Dallas' Dončić stands between Celtics and NBA title

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic drives to the basket on Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.

Luka vs. Tatum will be a matchup to watch. Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Nobody's had an answer for the Celtics through the regular season and playoffs. In the NBA Finals, the league's hottest young superstar gets his shot.

Why it matters: The Celts are four wins away from an 18th title, but the Dallas Mavericks — led by 25-year-old Slovenian phenom Luka Dončić — won't make it easy.

⚡ Know your enemy: Many believe Dončić, a once-in-a-generation offensive force at guard, is already the world's best player.

  • He led the NBA in scoring this season and has made the All-Star Team and All-NBA First Team in five of his six seasons.
  • A championship would cap his climb to the top of the sport.

Hello, old friend: While Dončić is Dallas' scariest offensive player, his teammate, former Celtic Kyrie Irving, isn't far behind.

  • When both are hot, they're blistering. In the last round, they liquefied the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-ranked defense.

Yes, but: The Celtics have their own pair of superstars in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, plus two excellent defenders in Jrue Holiday and Derrick White.

  • Scoreboard: The Celts won both times the teams played this season.

👀 The intrigue: Kristaps Porziņģis, the Celts' 7-foot-2 "Unicorn," has missed more than a month with a calf strain.

If you go: Game 1 tips off 8:30pm Thursday at TD Garden. Be prepared to part with upwards of $700, even for a seat in the nosebleeds.

  • Or you can watch on ABC.
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