Celtics defeat Mavericks 105-98, take 2-0 lead in NBA Finals

Jrue Holiday led the scoring. Derrick White added a chase-down block. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown pitched in, too — with their passing and defense.

The Mavericks can stop worrying about who Boston’s best player is. Everyone is contributing to the Celtics’ quest for an unprecedented 18th NBA championship.

Holiday had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and White sprinted down the court to swat away the Mavericks’ last chance on Sunday night as Boston beat Dallas 105-98 to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

Tatum made up for a rough shooting night with 12 assists and nine rebounds to go with his 18 points. Brown scored 21 with three steals, White had 18 points and three steals, and Payton Pritchard’s only basket of the game was a banked half-courter to beat the third quarter buzzer and give Boston an 83-74 lead.

“That’s why they are the No. 1 team in the NBA with the No. 1 record,” said Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who scored 32 with 11 rebounds and 11 assists — the first NBA Finals triple-double in Dallas franchise history. “They have a lot of great players. Basically, anybody can get off.”

Doncic, who was listed as questionable to play less than two hours before the opening tipoff, had his 10th career playoff triple-double. But he scored only three points in the fourth, converting a three-point play with 1:15 left as Dallas scored nine in a row to cut a 14-point deficit to 103-98.

After Derrick Jones Jr. blocked Tatum’s dunk attempt, White ran down the court, joining with Brown to block P.J. Washington’s potential dunk. Brown made a layup at the other end, and then Doncic missed a one-footed, running floater from 3-point range with 28 seconds left, ending Dallas’ last chance at a comeback.

“It’s not all on him. It’s a team,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said of Doncic, who had been battling chest, knee and ankle injuries. “He put us in a position. He was really good tonight. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get over the hump. We’ve got to find someone to join Luka and (Kyrie Irving) in that scoring category.”

Games 3 and 4 are Wednesday and Friday in Dallas; Boston has not lost on the road this postseason. It was the ninth time the Celtics have won the opening pair in the NBA Finals: They have won the previous eight, and have never been forced to a Game 7 in any of them.

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