Celtics 1 game away from sweep, 18th NBA title

Celtics 1 game away from sweep, 18th NBA title

The Boston Celtics (79-20 straight up, 50-43-6 against the spread) are one win away from their first NBA championship since 2008 and their 18th in the franchise’s storied history. They held off Dallas 106-99 in Wednesday’s Game 3 as three-point road underdogs.

The ‘under’ improved to 3-0 in the NBA Finals with the 205 combined points staying South of the 213.5-point total.

Boston has now won seven straight games over the Mavericks, going 6-0-1 ATS. The ‘under’ is on a 9-2-1 surge in the last 12 head-to-head meetings between these clubs.

Tip-off for tonight’s Game 4 is scheduled for 8:40 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

As of early Thursday, most books had Dallas (62-40 SU, 59-42-1 ATS) listed as a one-point home favorite with a total of 211.5. For first-half wagers, the Mavs were one-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 108.5.

By this morning, a lot of books like Circa and South Point had the game as a pick ’em. Caesars had the Celtics as 1.5-point road favorites, while the Westgate SuperBook had Boston at -1.

However, DraftKings had the Mavs as one-point home favorites, and the total was 211.5 points.

Jayson Tatum scored a team-best 31 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists in Game 3. Jaylen Brown added 30 points, eight boards and eight assists, while Derrick White contributed 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Jrue Holiday had nine points, four rebounds and five assists without a turnover. The veteran point guard has handed out 13 assists without a turnover in the series to date.

In the losing effort, Luka Doncic fouled out with 4:12 remaining. He finished with 27 points, six rebounds and six assists. Doncic picked up four of his six fouls in the final stanza and was disqualified for only the third time in his career.

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 35 points, draining 4-of-6 launches from 3-point land and all four of his free throws. Rookie forward Dereck Lively II, who made all 16 of his field-goal attempts in the Western Conference finals vs. Minnesota but was a complete non-factor in Games 1 and 2, came alive with 11 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and one assist without a turnover. He made 5-of-6 FGAs.

P.J. Washington was also in double figures with 13 points and eight boards. However, Tim Hardaway Jr.’s post-season struggles continued, as he went scoreless in more than 19 minutes of playing time.

After leading by one at halftime, Dallas was outscored 35-19 by Boston in the third quarter. The Mavs appeared to be toast when they fell down by 22 points in the fourth, but they responded with a 28-9 run to pull within 100-98 on a Lively dunk with 1:20 left.

Brown answered with a mid-range jumper, though. Then Tatum and White both hit a pair of free throws to put the game on ice.

“It’s not over till it’s over,” Doncic said. “We just got to believe. Like I always say, it’s first to four. We’re going to stay together. We lose together, we win together.”

FanDuel has Boston as a massive -8000 favorite to win the series, leaving the Mavs at +2200 odds (or 22/1).

The betting shop now has Brown as a -340 ‘chalk’ to win NBA Finals MVP honors. He had +155 odds going into Game 3.

The next-shortest odds behind Brown belong to Tatum (+270), Doncic (29/1) and Holiday (65/1).

PREDICTION: ‘Under’ 211.5. The combined scores in the series have been 205, 203 and 196 points.