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NBA Finals Preview: How can Boston slow down Luka Doncic? | Locked On Celtics

NBA Finals Celtics Mavericks Luka Doncic
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Jun 03, 2024

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Jun 03, 2024

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a.patton@tegna.com

Dallas and Boston square off for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, and the big question is how the Celtics will slow down Luka Doncic.

Luka Doncic scored 36 points in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals to lead the Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2011. Dallas will take on the Boston Celtics, the No. 1 seed in the east, with Game 1 tipping off on Thursday at 8:30 PM ET.

A Dallas-Boston series offers plenty of intriguing storylines, and John Karalis of Locked On Celtics and Nick Angstadt of Locked On Mavericks discussed the biggest one – how the Celtics can slow down Doncic – on a crossover edition of the podcast.

“Part of the plan to defend Luka Doncic is to defend with your offense,” Karalis explained. “This is going to be my favorite phrase over the next two weeks. Defend Luka Doncic by putting him in every action. By forcing him to defend…by the fourth quarter anybody’s going to get tired. If you’re working that hard on both ends of the floor, you’re going to fade.”

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Doncic averaged 32.4 points per game in the series against Minnesota, primarily doing his damage in the first quarter. He had 20 in the first quarter in Game 5, while Kyrie Irving took over in the second half. The 25-year-old is playing at an elite level right now, and finding a way to slow him down is critical for Boston.

Karalis and Angstadt also discuss Boston’s three point shooting, which will be a key factor against Dallas’ stout defense. Rookie rim protector Dereck Lively is back for the Mavs as well, after a neck injury held him out of Game 4 against Minnesota.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are three or four games where Boston shoots 50 three pointers,” Karalis continued. “That’s the thing with the Celtics, everyone is capable [shooters].”

Boston is looking for their first NBA title since 2008 while Dallas has not won since 2011. Game 1 will be Thursday, June 6 at 8:30 PM ET.

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