MNO Sports >Football World >Starting 5, June 16: Finals back in Boston, Father's Day moments

Starting 5, June 16: Finals back in Boston, Father's Day moments

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Starting 5

The Finals are back in Boston for Monday’s Game 5.

Before the Celtics and Mavs hit the practice court this afternoon, let’s wish all the NBA dads – and dads in our Starting 5 fam – a Happy Father’s Day.


THE LINEUP 🏀

What’s inside today’s edition? 

Father’s Day: Memorable NBA Father’s Day moments and the best father/son duos ever

Owning The Paint: Dallas has won the paint battle every game of the Finals, especially Game 4

Pushing The Pace: Dallas’ best offensive game of the series came when they upped the pace

Comeback Experience: Boston was in Dallas’ shoes last year; Kyrie faces his second 3-1 Finals deficit

Chasing History: An all-access look at the Mavericks’ emphatic win in Game 4


BUT FIRST … ⏰

The remaining Finals schedule …

Stay tapped in on the NBA App for the latest news and access from Boston. Media availability will stream live beginning at 12:30 ET with the Mavericks, followed by the Celtics at 1:15 ET.


1. FATHER’S DAY AROUND THE NBA

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving walked off the court on Friday to a shower of applause. They had just led the Mavericks to the third-largest win in Finals history, and their championship hopes were still alive.

As the two superstars exited their home floor amid the cheers of victory, our cameras panned to two proud Mavs fans — their dads.

On the other side was one of the NBA’s most famous fathers — Jayson Tatum, who talked with us in October about what it’s like to be a dad when the season starts in an exclusive Starting 5 interview.

After Game 3 of the Finals, Tatum was the smiling father, letting his son, Deuce, know that he was one win away from touching the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Competitors on the floor, Doncic, Irving and Tatum serve as a reminder that even on basketball’s biggest stage, family remains at the game’s core.

In honor of Father’s Day across the United States, we’re revisiting some of our favorite father-son stories and moments throughout the years.

Father-Son Duos: From Dell & Steph Curry to Rick & Jalen Brunson to Joe & Kobe Bryant, Shaun Powell ranks the greatest father-son duos in NBA historyJayson & Deuce: Jayson Tatum welcomed NBA TV into his home for Father’s Day to discuss his relationship with his son, Deuce, and role modelingMVP Moment: While accepting the Michael Jordan Trophy as the 2023 Kia NBA MVP, Joel Embiid teared up as his son came running to him to share the moment. Watch Embiid react to that moment and discuss what being a father means to himHonoring His Father: The children of Kings legend and Hall of Famer Bob Davies give their blessing for Domantas Sabonis to wear their father’s retired number 11 so that Domantas can honor his father, Arvydas, by wearing the same number he wore throughout his Hall of Fame careerMore Moments: Dive in for more father/son connections with Tim Hardaway Jr. & Sr., Rick & Jalen Brunson and more

2. DALLAS DOMINATING THE PAINT

In Game 4, the Mavericks outscored the Celtics 60-26 in points in the paint, marking Boston’s second-lowest PITP total since 2022 and its worst PITP margin all season (-34).

But Dallas’ dominance inside on Friday was not an anomaly.

The Mavs have won the paint each game this series, and the margin has steadily increased since Kristaps Porzingis, the Celtics’ 7-foot-3 center, went down with a leg injury in Game 2.

Game 1 PITP: 46-38 (DAL +8)Game 2 PITP: 54-46 (DAL +8)Game 3 PITP: 52-36 (DAL +16)Game 4 PITP: 60-26 (DAL +34)

Downhill Duo: With Porzingis sidelined, the Mavs’ two leading scorers, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, have found success attacking the cup.

Paint Guards: In Game 4, Kyrie scored 18 of his 21 points inside the paint, and Luka scored 22 of his 29 points inside the paint — both series highsDrives: Luka and Kyrie also combined to shoot 15-of-20 on drives in Game 4, scoring 16 points apieceWith Porzingis: In Games 1 & 2, Luka averaged 12 PITP per game, and Kyrie averaged eight, while the two combined for 44 total drivesWithout Porzingis: In Games 3 & 4, Luka’s PITP average jumped to 18 per game, and Kyrie’s increased to 15, while the two combined for 76 drives

KP’s Offensive Impact: When the Mavs duo left Game 4 for good with 1:29 left in the 3rd quarter, Luka had single-handedly outscored the Celtics in the paint (22-18), and Kyrie had tied them (18-18) — a testament to both their aggression and Porzingis’ impact offensively.

Gafford: Without KP stretching the floor with his 3-point shot, Daniel Gafford has gone from allowing an average of 13.0 PITP in Games 1 & 2 to 8.0 PITP in Games 3 & 4Lively II: Meanwhile, Dereck Lively II has reduced opponents’ FG% outside the restricted area from 44.4% in the first two games to 27.3% in the last two games, and improved his rim protection from 80% allowed in Games 1 & 2 to 50% allowed in Games 3 & 4Brown Bottled Up: With Dallas’ two bigs back in the paint, Jaylen Brown — Boston’s leading points scorer inside this postseason — had a series-low four PITP in Game 4Offensive Boards: After grabbing 10 offensive rebounds in each of the first two games, the Celtics had just 10 in Games 3 & 4 combined, including a Playoff-low four on Friday🗣️ Coach Joe Mazzulla On Dallas’ Defense: “Their five man did a great job protecting the paint. Every time we went in for a layup they had multiple guys contest.”🗣️ Jayson Tatum On KP: “He presents so many matchup problems on the offensive end. And then on the defensive end, he’s somebody that can affect shots and protect the rim … We’re better with him out there.”

3. MAVS PUSH THE PACE

“We had to bring our A game,” said Mavs coach Jason Kidd after his team’s Game 4 win. “It was either this or go on vacation.”

Facing elimination for the first time all season, the Mavericks — who hadn’t topped 100 points in any of the first three games of the Finals — shot a series-high 50.5% from the field and 40.5% from 3 to hit the century mark with 9:29 remaining in the 4th quarter.

But Dallas’ offensive outburst wasn’t solely because of shooting; it stemmed from speed and decisiveness.

Pace: Dallas’ 96.00 pace in Game 4 is its highest of the Finals and led to a series-high in shot attempts (91) and offensive rating (127.1)Purpose: In Game 4, the Mavs tied their series-high in assists (21) and their series-low in turnovers (8)Off To The Races: For the first time all series, Dallas outscored Boston in both fast break points (11-6) and points off turnovers (17-9)🗣️ Kidd On Mavs Offense: “The flow was there … I think we did a really good job of executing the game plan and letting the game come to us.”🗣️ Tatum On Mavs Offense: “They came out super aggressive. They played extremely fast.”

Clicking: With Luka and Kyrie attacking the paint and the entire team pushing the tempo, the Mavs got more open looks in Game 4 and hit them at a higher rate.

Wide Open: In the first three games of the series, Dallas took 31 “wide open” 3s (when the closest defender is six or more feet away from the shooter) and made eight of them (25.8%)Knocking ‘Em Down: In Game 4, they had 21 wide-open 3s and made 10 of them (47.6%)

Back To Their Strength: Entering the Finals, the Mavericks led all Playoff teams with 4.1 corner 3s per game and 57 total alley-oops. In the series’ first three games, Boston took those looks away. But in Game 4, Dallas struck back.

Games 1-3: The Mavs shot 5-of-14 on corner 3s and went 3-for-5 on alley-oopsGame 4: The Mavs shot 4-of-7 on corner 3s and went 2-for-2 on alley-oops🗣️ Derrick Jones Jr.: “We started playing the right way and put our best foot forward.”🗣️ Lively II: “Just coming out here and being the aggressor. We figured out what the game plan is … This is the type of basketball the Mavericks play.”

4. COMEBACK EXPERIENCE

Of the 156 previous teams to go down 3-0 in a Playoff series, only 15 teams have forced a Game 6, and only four have forced a Game 7.

The 2023 Boston Celtics are one of those four teams.

In last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics reeled off three straight wins against the Heat after falling into a 3-0 hole, and although they fell short in Game 7, they say the experience helps them understand the Mavericks’ current perspective.

🗣️ Jayson Tatum: “A year ago this time, we were down 0-3 and essentially fighting for our lives … We understand what it’s like from their point of view … They played harder tonight.”🗣️ Al Horford: “They [Dallas] were in a position that their backs were against the wall, and they did what they were supposed to do.”

Despite having been in Dallas’ shoes, the Celtics weren’t able to match the Mavs’ intensity in Game 4, leading to Boston’s third-largest postseason loss in franchise history.

🗣️ Joe Mazzulla On Celtics’ Effort: “It wasn’t as good as Dallas’.”🗣️ Horford: “We came out determined, but they were the better team. They were the team that was playing harder.”🗣️ Jaylen Brown: “Closeout games are tough … You gotta have extreme focus and come out and meet their intensity to finish things out.”

Kyrie Irving also has experience overcoming series deficits. No team had ever come back from trailing 3-1 in the Finals (0-32) before Irving and the Cavs pulled it off in 2016 against the Warriors. Eight years later, Irving is looking to make history again.

🗣️ Kyrie: “We have another opportunity to extend the season. That’s all we can ask for. We handled our business tonight (Game 4). But the job is still an uphill battle, and we understand that.”

In Game 5 of the 2016 Finals, Kyrie dropped 41 points, and the Cavs won on the road to bring the series back to their home building for Game 6. Irving’s attitude then and Luka’s confidence now stems from believing in their teammates.

🗣️ Kyrie After Game 5 Of The 2016 Finals: “Just sticking with our game plan and going off the trust of my teammates … It gave us an incredible amount of energy.”🗣️ Luka After Game 4 Of The 2024 Finals: “It’s first to four, and we’re going to believe until the end … I have big belief in this team that we can do it. So, we just gotta keep believing.”

The Celtics can repeat history themselves. All three of Boston’s most recent championship teams (2008, 1986, 1984) lost a closeout game on the road, then came back to Boston and won the title the next game.

Jrue Holiday, who won the 2021 Finals with the Bucks, says it’s going to take a complete team effort.

🗣️ Holiday On Closing Out The Finals: “You gotta do it together as a team. Everybody has to be clicking and be the more desperate team.”

5. CHASING HISTORY: MAVS STRIKE BACK

🗣️ “Understand that we are going to win. There is no losing tonight. This is what we live for. This is what it’s all about.”— Mavericks Coach Jason Kidd before Game 4 of the Finals

Go inside the Mavs locker room with their season on the line in Game 4, as they prevent the Celtics from celebrating a historic 18th championship on their home floor with a statement victory in Dallas.

The latest episode of Chasing History brings Luka Doncic full circle, from leading Real Madrid to a EuroLeague championship as a 19-year-old to galvanizing the Mavericks in a must-win game in the NBA Finals.

Look Back: How the Celtics built a 3-0 series lead before the Mavs forced Game 5

Episode 23: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown help Boston halt the Mavs’ late comeback to grab a 3-0 Finals leadEpisode 22: The Celtics protect home court as Jrue Holiday shines and Derrick White seals Game 2 with a key chasedown blockEpisode 21: Kristaps Porzingis’ return from injury boosts Boston to a big win in Game 1Full Archive: All episodes are available here and on the NBA App

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