Lively’s emergence keeps the Mavericks alive in the NBA Finals


The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Boston Celtics this Saturday – early in the morning in Spain – by a clear 122-84 in the fourth game of the NBA Finals, thanks to the emergence of center Dereck Lively II in key moments to complement Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

The young ‘center’ of the Mavs, despite starting as a substitute for Daniel Gafford, added good minutes midway through the first period at the American Airlines Center, both in defense and especially in attack. That boosted the Texas franchise, supported by the scoring of Doncic and Irving.

Once again without the Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis, injured in his left leg, the Celtics did not carburete in the ‘paint’ with Al Horford. This was reflected in the 34-21 they conceded in that first period, and it did not work for coach Joe Mazzulla to opt for ‘small ball’ during the second period, with forward Sam Hauser as the tallest man.

Jayson Tatum dried up early facing the rival rim and Jaylen Brown had a very different version of what he had shown in previous appointments of these ‘playoffs’. The supporting actors on the Boston roster, as luxurious as Jrue Holiday or Derrick White, also disappointed.

On the other hand, the bench background did appear among the local ranks. Australian guard Dante Exum, a former Barça and also Partizan Belgrade player, recovered his good feelings from several months ago and supported a couple of vital offenses for the Dallas team.

The advantage of Jason Kidd’s students grew gradually, until they were 61-35 at halftime. And after confirming in the resumption that the dynamic was similar, without improving their percentages in the long shot, the Celtics seemed to accept the defeat prematurely.

Even Mazzulla showed it with plenty of time left in the third quarter, when he removed his important players from the field. The Mavs continued at a high pace, gave no respite to their opponent’s usual substitutes and certified their victory with the third highest historical point difference in a Finals game.

In the early hours of next Monday to Tuesday, the Boston team will have another opportunity to close the series in their pavilion. If the tie is 4-1 overall, the franchise with the leprechaun logo would win its 18th title, a record number in the NBA.