Celtics take 2-0 lead over Mavs in NBA Finals

Celtics take 2-0 lead over Mavs in NBA Finals

Boston (78-20 straight up, 49-43-6 against the spread) took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals with Sunday’s 105-98 win over Dallas in Game 2. With most books closing the Celtics as seven-point home favorites, bets on the side resulted in a push.

The 203 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 214.5-point total.

Boston has now won six games in a row over the Mavericks, going 5-0-1 ATS with four wins by 13 points or more. The ‘under’ is 8-2-1 in the last 11 head-to-head meetings.

Jrue Holiday was the catalyst for the winners, draining 11-of-14 field-goal attempts and scoring a team-high 26 points. The UCLA product had 11 rebounds, one steal, one blocked shot and three assists without a turnover.

“I’m a utility guy. I’ll do whatever. I’m here to win,” said Holiday. “I feel like they brought me here to win, and I’ll do my best to do that. But at the end of the day, this is (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s) team.

“And I know it’s probably just as much my team as theirs, but … the pressure that they have on themselves to execute and to be great is a little bit different than my pressure.”

Jaylen Brown had 21 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals, while Derrick White finished with 18 points, five boards, three steals, two assists and a pair of blocked shots. Jayson Tatum added 18 points, 12 assists and nine boards, and Kristaps Porzingis had 12 points, four rebounds and two blocks before getting injured in the third quarter.

Luka Doncic posted a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and four steals, but he coughed up eight turnovers. He buried 12-of-21 FGAs, 4-of-9 launches from 3-point range and 4-of-8 free throws. The turnovers and missed free throws proved to be costly.

“My turnovers and missed free throws cost us the game,” Doncic said at his post-game media session.

P.J. Washington added 17 points and seven boards, while Kyrie Irving had 16 points and six assists in the losing effort. Daniel Gafford produced 13 points, nine rebounds and one block, and Derrick Jones Jr. was also in double figures with 11 points.

As of early Monday afternoon, most betting shops had Dallas (62-39 SU, 59-41-1 ATS) installed as a 1.5-point home favorite for Wednesday’s Game 3. The total was 212.5 or 213 points, while the Mavs were -125 on the money line. The Celtics had +105 odds to win outright.

Jason Kidd’s club was favored by two points in the first half with a total of 109.5 points.

However, by early Tuesday evening, most spots had the Mavs as 2.5 or three-point favorites. The total was 212.5 at most shops and Boston was +125 on the money line.

As of this morning, Dallas is -2.5 and the Celtics are +120 to win outright.

FanDuel had initially adjusted the Celtics to massive -1000 favorites for the series price, leaving the Mavs as +660 underdogs. But as of Tuesday night, the book had moved Boston to -820 with Dallas as a +570 ‘dog.

Tatum is the +140 ‘chalk’ to win NBA Finals MVP honors at FanDuel. The next-shortest odds belong to Brown (+155), Doncic (+600), Holiday (+700), White (48/1) and Irving (75/1).

Tatum’s odds were +130 on Monday morning, and several other players have seen their MVP odds shifted since early Monday. Doncic moved from +650 to +600, White from 50/1 to 48/1 and Irving from 80/1 to 75/1.

Porzingis was at 50/1, but he’s been taken off the board. The Game 1 hero sustained a torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in the third quarter of Game 2. Porzingis is listed as ‘questionable’ for Game 3, but there’s plenty of speculation that he could be done for the series.

FanDuel’s series spread now has Boston at -2.5 games at a -134 price. Dallas is +2.5 for a +110 return.

Tip-off for tonight’s Game 3 is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.