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Celtics halt Dallas' comeback and move within reach of NBA ring

Boston needs one more victory to become the most successful franchise in history.

Boston Celtics-Dallas Mavericks. Tercer partido de las Finales de la NBA 2024.

(Cordon Press)

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Holding off a spectacular comeback attempt, the Boston Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-99 on Wednesday and took a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

The Mavericks, who fell by 21 points (91-70) at the beginning of the last quarter, rallied until they got within one, but were unable to complete the reaction after the expulsion of Luka Doncic (27 points) for personal fouls four minutes before the game. final.

The Celtics of Jayson Tatum (31 points) and Jaylen Brown (30) have everything in their favor to win their first title since 2008, since no team in history has let a 3-0 lead slip away in the NBA playoffs.

On Friday, Boston will have its first opportunity to close a title drought that dates back to 2008 and thus celebrate its 18th ring, with which it would surpass the Lakers as the most succesful franchise in the NBA.

"It's been a very long time to where we are now, I'm proud. Now you have to stay at the moment, smile and be grateful," said Brown, who two years ago fell alongside Tatum in his first trip to the Finals against the Warriors.

"This isn't over until it's over. We just have to believe," stressed Doncic on his side, who regretted the referee's judgment that led to the first playoff expulsion of his career.

"I don't want to say anything, but six fouls in the NBA Finals... Come on man, we have to do better," protested the Slovenian. "We had a good chance. We came close, but we didn't make it. I wish I could have been out there."

Doncic's expulsion

The Mavericks were urgent to achieve a first victory in the series in front of their home crowd, and to do so they had in their favor the loss of Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis, injured in his left leg in the previous game.

The Texan fans, in the first Finals game they had hosted since the last ring in 2011, strongly encouraged their team in a good start led by Kyrie Irving.

Far from the boos of his former Boston fans, the point guard shone at his level for the first time in this tie with 35 points and 4 triples.

Dallas could not consolidate its leads of up to 13 points and allowed the Celtics to reach the break even and then accelerate until they gained a distance that seemed unattainable.

But the locals did not throw in the towel and sealed a brilliant 2-20 run to get within 93-92 when Doncic's decisive expulsion came.

The referees called the point guard's sixth personal in a defensive action against Brown and later ratified it after the Mavericks' demand for review.

Without their leader, the Mavericks were unable to achieve victory and now risk being the first to suffer a 4-0 sweep in the Finals since LeBron James' Cavaliers in 2018 at the hands of the Warriors.