NBA Finals Prediction: Can The Mavericks Knock Off The Super Team Celtics?

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Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 20: Jayson Tatum #0 talks to Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden on March 20, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Who will end up holding the Larry O'Brien trophy?

The NBA finals are finally upon us. The Dallas Mavericks will take on the Boston Celtics on Thursday in what should be a fascinating series of basketball, featuring two teams that have had very different roads to the final. Through 82 games, the Boston Celtics ran through the league during the regular season, finishing with an impressive 64 wins under their belt. Dallas is a different story. The Mavs were a middling team with two superstars, but their fortunes changed with a fantastic trade deadline that brought in the likes of P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford. They finished the season with one of the best records after the All-Star break.

The two teams' playoff journeys have also been vastly different. The Celtics cruised through the East to the Finals, facing overmatched competition. Add to the fact that several injuries of star players on the teams they were facing, like the Cavaliers and the Pacers, and you have a smooth run to the finals. On the other hand, the Mavericks have had a tough journey in the West, facing three 50-win teams in a row while dealing with several injuries of their own. The star-studded Finals matchup will feature several matchups and storylines. Kyrie is returning to Boston, and Porzingis is returning to Dallas. Will Jayson Tatum get his first title before Luka Doncic? The drama will undoubtedly be matched by the level of basketball that fans will be treated to. Who will come out on top? Let's look at the matchups.

Kyrie Irving Returns To Boston

Kyrie Irving is returning to Boston after five years after his big move. Irving landed in Boston in 2017 after being traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he won a championship with LeBron James. He forced his way out of Boston in 2019. The Kyrie that was present then isn't the same Kyrie that is in Dallas. He clearly wanted to venture out on his own and be the premier veteran on a team that could lead them to a championship. He was not up to the task in Boston or his next stop in Brooklyn, but this version of Kyrie seems to have learned from his mistakes and has stepped up as a leader. Nevertheless, Irving will not receive a warm welcome in Boston.

The Boston fans will heckle Irving like they have heckled a few other players. There is a lot of bad blood there between Irving and the fans. It's no wonder Irving rarely plays in Boston anymore. Kyrie infamously stepped on the Celtics logo as a sign of disrespect; he has flipped off fans and astonishingly tried to cleanse the Boston arena with sage. The Kyrie return is probably the top of the list for drama in the Finals. It is unlikely the noise affects Kyrie Irving in Boston, but if he struggles early, Boston's fans will feed into it and take it up a notch. Also of note will be his ex-teammate's reception to him. Let's see how the dap-ups before game 1 go between Kyrie, Jayson, and Jaylen.

Luka Doncic And Kyrie Irving Vs. Jaylen Brown And Jayson Tatum

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are considered two of the best closers in the NBA. We saw their proficiency against the Timberwolves in late-game situations. Their shot-making ability and clutch play are both a big factor in the Finals. Luka is his own beast whose okay performances still see him dropping 30-point triple-doubles. The variety of defenders he has seen in the playoffs has been challenging, and Boston possesses great defenders to throw at him. Nevertheless, Luka has gone off on just about any defender that's ever guarded him. Kyrie, on the other hand, might be pushed to be more of a facilitator, with the likes of the Celtic's Jrue Holiday and Derrick White hounding him. Kyrie will look to be aggressive if Boston forces the ball out of Doncic's hands.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are as dynamic a duo as you have in the league. They both can fill it up and are good defenders. As a duo, they don't complement each other at times, but their success in these playoffs is due to Tatum and the Brown's offensive onslaught. The Mavericks have some range and versatile defenders to throw at them, but big numbers should be expected, no matter the matchups. This is the chance for Tatum and Brown to finally get over the hump and win an NBA title after years of falling short. When they are in attack mode, it's something to behold but when they and their teammates continue to settle for 3-pointers, they get in trouble. Have they learned from their Finals failure against the Golden State Warriors two seasons ago? We will see.

Kristaps Porzingis Is Ready To Go For Game 1

Kristaps Porzingis is now expected to return in game one of the NBA Finals. After sustaining a non-contact calf injury during Game 4 of the first round against the Miami Heat, Porzingis has not appeared in a game since April 29. In that time, the Celtics defeated the Heat 4-1, went on to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1, and won the Eastern Conference Finals by sweeping the Indiana Pacers. Porzingis is the key that unlocked Boston's powerhouse offense, which dominated the league. He is a knockdown 3-point shooter who can protect the rim like few players. He offers the Celtics a big advantage that can exploit mismatches and stretch the floor, which makes it much easier for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to attack.

Kristaps is also set to face his former team. His tenure with Luka Doncic and the Mavs was riddled with injury issues and a lack of chemistry between himself and Luka. The environment in Dallas will be particularly antagonistic towards the Latvian international. Dallas has some serious size with Daniel Gafford and rookie Dereck Lively II, but they will have to adjust to guarding Porzingis, who is a legit perimeter threat. His presence means Dallas will have to make some tough decisions defensively in the series. A big reason Dallas was so successful against the Wolves was because of the play of their bigs. Porzingis being healthy makes the 4 and 5 matchups something to keep an eye on.

Who Will Win The NBA Finals? Our Official Prediction

Indianapolis, IN - May 27: Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, right, hugs forward Oshae Brissett after winning Game 4 of the 2024 Eastern Conference Finals. (Photo by Danielle Parhizkaran/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Our pick for the 2024 NBA champion is the Boston Celtics. They have been dominant like few teams have been in NBA history. The Dallas Mavericks are not a very deep team, and most of the responsibility will be shouldered by Luka and Kyrie. Boston will be able to rely on guys like Derrick White and Jrue Holiday to take the load off of their stars, and that will be the difference. Porzingis being healthy seals the deal. The Boston Celtics win the series in six hard-fought games, and Jayson Tatum takes home the Finals MVP Award.

About The Author
Jamil David is a Sports and pop culture writer based in Houston Tx. Jamil is a Sports Writer For HNHH, covering everything from the NBA to the NFL and everything in between.
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