Celtics hold off Doncic to go up 2-0 in the NBA Finals

Boston expanded its lead in the series despite the triple-double recorded by the Mavericks' Slovenian star.

(AFP) Withstanding a tremendous performance by Luka Doncic, the Boston Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks 105-98 on Sunday to go up 2-0 in the NBA Finals.

Doncic, who was listed as questionable to play due to a lingering injury, put up a stratospheric triple-double of 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but it was once again not enough in the face of a great team performance from the Celtics.

Point guard Jrue Holiday, with 26 points and 11 rebounds, was this time the hero for the Celtics, who are now two wins away from achieving the 18th championship in their history and the first since 2008.

"It feels great, but it's not over. Whatever it takes, as long as it takes," Holiday stressed.

Jayson Tatum (18 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists) and Jaylen Brown (21 points), Boston's stars, were perfectly supported by luxury complements like Holiday and Derrick White (18 points), who shone on both sides of the court, the latter recording a key block in the final minute.

Pushed by their fans, the Celtics prevailed despite one of their worst nights from the 3-point line (10-39) and will come in confidently to Game 3 of the series on Wednesday in Dallas.

Boston has not yet been beaten on the road in 16 games in these playoffs.

A total of 31 of the 36 teams that won the first two games of the NBA Finals ended up winning the title.

Irving and Doncic take responsibility

To stay alive, the Mavericks will need a much greater contribution from Doncic's teammates, especially Kyrie Irving, once again with a quiet night amidst the concert of boos in the TD Garden.

The point guard, who had a controversial departure from the Celtics in 2019, had 16 points and 6 assists on 7-18 shooting.

"It wasn't all on me, but I'm definitely taking the majority of it because my teammates look to me to convert a lot of these shots and ease the burden of not just Luka but everyone else and settle our team," Irving said.

Doncic was also critical of his own play after his 8 turnovers and 4-8 free throw shooting.

"My turnovers and my missed free throws cost us the game," said the point guard, who said he felt good about the chest contusion that led him to be listed as questionable for this game.