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Boston Celtics at Dallas Mavericks

Team Totals: Celtics 105, Mavs 107.5

Injury Report: Kristaps Porzingis (Q, ankle), Luka Doncic (P, chest)

Mavericks projected starters: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., P.J. Washington, Daniel Gafford

Celtics projected starters: Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford

Offensive Ranks Mavericks 8th, Celtics 1st
Defensive Ranks: Mavericks 17th, Celtics 3rd

Kidd quotes: Said the block on Washington looked like a foul, said they have to be better with taking care of the ball, said Irving got great looks and they didn’t go down, said Luka was great no matter what he says and that’s just the kind of leader that he is, said their defense was good and they had to take care of the ball, said they have to find other guys to step up and help Luka and Kyrie, said they hope they can build on Exum hitting some shots late, said Boston is hot and they just have to protect home court.

Mazzulla quotes: Said he’s tired of people talking about Tatum’s subpar shooting, said Tatum has been able to solve the puzzle of how the Mavs are guarding him, said their O rebounding has been there and it hasn’t hurt their transition D, said Porzingis “is good” after his tweak in the second half.

Stats and Notes:

Rim points per game: Mavericks 20th, Celtics 19th

Rim points allowed per game: Mavericks 16th, Celtics 3rd

Catch and shoot points per game: Mavericks 17th, Celtics 1st

Catch and shoot points allowed per game: Mavericks 17th, Celtics 10th

PNR handler scoring per game: Mavericks 9th, Celtics 21st

PNR handler scoring allowed per game: Mavericks 15h, Celtics 25th

Transition scoring per game: Mavericks 8th, Celtics 9th

Transition scoring allowed per game: Mavericks 18th, Celtics 4th

Porzingis Update:

*OK, let’s start with what we learned about Kristaps Porzingis (we’ll have more on the Injury Show, too). He suffered a torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg at 3:27 of the third quarter of Game 2. Per Jeff Stotts aka @InStreetClothes, medial retinaculum is connective tissue that serves as the roof of the tarsal tunnel (think carpal tunnel but in the foot). It anchors multiple structures in place, including the tendon of the posterior tibialis. Basically, it sounds like it’s a pain tolerance thing, but we know Porzingis has dealt with a litany of injuries. This is not the same injury as his calf, and a part of me thinks the Celtics are just throwing out terms to try to confuse you like a used car salesman. Whatever the case, there’s some major concern that Porzingis will have to tap out due to the pain or stability in his ankle.

Porzingis said he will do everything he can to play, and he wasn’t really limping at practice on Tuesday. There’s a chance he can play in the mid 20s here, but it feels like there’s no chance he’s in the upper 20s. Considering the risk of aggravation or he just can’t play through it, he’s an extremely tough play in DFS. OK, let’s get to some of the other stuff. Plus, I’m not really going to address how KP being out/limited can push up the usage/minutes for the star players.

Macro stats:

*The Celtics are just dominating in the “easy” shots and no stat drives that home more than the Boston edge on C&S shots. In the first two games, Boston won the catch-and-shoot points battle 64-18. Just insane, and there’s obviously a lot of overlap in their 65-21 edge on spot-up plays. Looking at possessions, Boston won the C&S battle 66-29, so it’s not even really about the shot making. The Celtics also won the transition points game 51-34, and they scored more points on cuts (21-13). Even with that ridiculous edge on C&S, Boston still had more points at the rim (76-74). Synergy’s shot-quality stat had the edge 56-27 in shots with 80th+ percentile on shot quality. The Celtics are winning potential assists 94-61, and Dallas has made just 210 passes per game in the first two games. To put those numbers in perspective, the Clippers were last in passes per game at 254.4 and they were last in potential assists at 40.2. The lack of ball movement combined with no transition scoring is a massive problem, and a credit to the Boston “guard your yard” defense. The other major component to the Dallas offense is their lack of corner 3-pointers. In the first three rounds, they averaged 11.6 corner 3PAs per game, but that has dropped to just 4.0 per game in the NBA Finals. The Celtics have actually upped theirs to 13.0 per game in these last two. The Mavs didn’t add any rim volume in Game 2 at just 20 possessions (26 in Game 1) while the Celtics turned it up with 30 rim possessions (22 in Game 1). Boston’s rim efficiency has been fantastic, and their two games in the NBA Finals would be Dallas’ second- and third-worst PPP allowed in a playoff game. Boston has so many advantages that they were able to go 10-of-39 from deep to still control Game 2. The Celtics have cut down the lobs and corner 3-pointers just so much, and there’s a really cool data viz piece here. One last point I wanted to make was about some of the talk on the Mavs going to zone. Yeah, don’t do it. In the regular season and playoffs, the Celtics are first in PPP against zone at 1.19 PPP, and the Mavs’ defense is third worst in zone defense at 1.27 PPP. Nope, don’t like that. As we get to the players, it’s all about Boston just living on their drive-and-kick game.

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