Mavericks vs. Celtics Game 2 NBA Best Bet: Dallas Will Bounce Back

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Top-rated sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for Game 2 between Dallas and Boston. For your best bets, I will recommend investing in the Mavericks.

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NBA Pick: Mavericks +7 (-108) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Mavericks +7 (-108)
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Dallas Mavericks vs. Boston Celtics

Sunday, June 09, 2024 – 08:00 PM ET at TD Garden

Games 1 and 2

While many are ready to dismiss the Mavericks, this is looking like a typical Dallas series.

In Game 1 of a given series, the Mavericks customarily lack sharpness on offense while their defense underperforms. Game 2, however, is their bounce-back game. This year, in Game 2s, Dallas is 3-0 SU with all of their wins coming as the underdog.

My point here is that the margin between these two teams is not remotely significant enough to justify the expectation that this series results in a sweep, and if there’s one game to like Dallas in, Game 2 is just the game to back the Mavs.

When the Mavericks bounced back in Game 2 against the Thunder, they scored 119 points on a defense that, as measured by defensive rating in both the regular season and postseason, is similar in quality to Boston’s. Meanwhile, Dallas since the trade deadline boasts one of the NBA’s very best defenses.

The Mavericks certainly have the quality to beat Boston, and the situation is just right for them.

Boston’s Transparent Gameplan

I like that Dallas has a few days to prepare for Game 2, although they won’t need so many days. Boston’s gameplan is transparent even to eyes not as sharp as Dallas head coach Jason Kidd’s.

On defense, Boston wants to take away the lob and corner threes, essentially allowing Luka Doncic to get his share against one-on-one coverage while shutting down the rest of the team.

Offensively, the Celtics want to use their three-point shooting to space out Dallas’ defenders, and then they want to win against the Mavericks’ perimeter defenders by blowing by them and attacking the rim.

It is obvious what Boston wants to do, and I will argue that Dallas has what it takes to make and execute adjustments.

Dallas Needs More Energy

Boston’s defense was able to look dominant in Game 1 because its help defense appeared well-positioned. The Celtics locked onto Mavericks shooters but also made driving difficult for Dallas’ scorers.

This appearance of being dominant contributes to people’s inflated sense of Boston’s ability to win games in this series, but the reality is that Boston’s appearance of being dominant relied on the reality of Dallas’ lack of energy on offense. The ball simply did not move well for the Mavericks’ offense.

On offense, Dallas was stagnant and lacking energy. As we’ve seen throughout the postseason, for various teams, when they lack energy in one game, these professional basketball players will respond with more energy in the next game. Expect better movement to prevent Boston from generating the appearance that its defenders are everywhere, locking everything down.

On defense, Dallas does have the physicality in its defenders – we saw it against a tough Timberwolves team – to handle Kristaps Porzingis, who was a significant part of Boston’s Game 1 victory, by making him less comfortable as a scorer.

Boston benefited from Porzingis’ absence throughout the postseason, which hindered Dallas from planning well for him for Game 1.

More From Everybody, Especially Kyrie Irving

I especially want to see Luka attack more inside, which will help Dallas revive the pick-and-roll dominance that it relied on in its last series against Minnesota.

Dallas can succeed more inside if its shooters demand more respect: the Mavericks underperformed tremendously from behind the arc in Game 1, relative to their year-long three-point conversion rate. The general failure to hit shots contributed to the tendency of many Mavericks players to make bad decisions driving inside after passing up good looks from deep.

Dallas’ whole offense will look more confident and dangerous in Game 2 when it lives up to its usual efficiency from behind the arc.

Kyrie Irving, in particular, needs to step up. As great as Luka is, he cannot do everything by himself. It is reassuring, in view of Game 2, to consider that Irving’s struggle in Game 1 was primarily psychological: the crowd flummoxed him. We never see him, for example, fall down and dribble off himself while he’s engaged in a dribbling sequence.

Irving is generally regarded as one of the best iso scorers in the game, though, so we have to expect him to come back. He’s excelled throughout this postseason against tough defensive matchups, including those posed by the Thunder and Timberwolves’ top-caliber defenses.


Dallas has two of the best iso scorers, is one of the best teams at generating corner threes, has one of the best defenses, and has physically talented centers who were merely intimidated by their entrance into the NBA Finals.

In Game 2, the Mavericks reliably bounce back, using their strengths, after their Game 1 appearance of ineptitude. Meanwhile, as a bonus consideration, we might get an underperforming Boston in Game 2 because the Celtics have lost every Game 2 in this postseason that followed a Game 1 dominant win.

NBA Pick: Mavericks +7 (-108) at BetOnline

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Mavericks +7 (-108)
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