Celtics vs. Mavericks Game 2 prediction: NBA Finals player props, picks

Just about everything worked for the Celtics on the defensive end in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. 

Boston allowed just 89 points against a Mavericks offense that was rolling on all cylinders coming into the series. 

They did it by doing something that sounds a bit counterintuitive: Letting Luka Doncic try to beat them.

The Celtics defended Doncic one-on-one for essentially the entire game, shutting down their role players and allowing their star player to create his own shots in isolation. 

And it worked. 

With excellent individual defenders in Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and Jrue Holiday, Boston kept Doncic in check, holding him to just 30 points on 26 shots, which was tied for the most he’s had this postseason, and a season-low one assist. 

Luka Doncic put up a playoff-high 26 shots on Thursday.
Luka Doncic put up a playoff-high 26 shots on Thursday. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

After so much success on Thursday, it would make little sense for the Celtics to make defensive adjustments in Sunday night’s contest – Doncic will have to solve this defensive scheme before they make any changes. 

Doncic still managed to drop his usual 30 points in Game 1 despite what would be considered a bad game for him, leaving plenty of room for an even bigger scoring output on Sunday. 

Against the Timberwolves, Doncic averaged 32.4 points, but that his supporting cast was much more involved, dishing out 8.2 assists a game.

Betting on the NBA?

It’s clear that a Game 2 bounce back will be up to Doncic, so let’s up the ante from there a little bit. 

After shooting just 4-of-12 from deep and 12-of-26 overall, betting that Doncic will shoot better in Game 2 isn’t a bad idea either. 

The play: Luka Doncic to score 35+ points (+165, FanDuel Sportsbook)

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