Former Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis leads Celtics to dominating 107-89 win in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Porzingis, who hadn’t played in a game in 38 days, returned from injury to come off the bench and helped Boston establish a large early lead it never relinquished.

BOSTON — In addition to airing every game of the 2024 NBA Finals on our station, WFAA is also hosting a special presentation called “The Pregame” before each and every matchup in the series. Head here for more information.

It will go down in the annals of NBA history as The Kristaps Porzingis Game.

In Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals, former Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis led his new Boston Celtics squad to a 107-89 win over his old team.

After having entered his home arena to thunderous applause before tipoff, Porzingis — who hadn’t played in a game since suffering a strained left calf in Game 4 of Boston’s first-round series against Miami on April 29 — started Game 1 on the bench but still quickly made his impact felt in the game. When his number was called early in the first quarter, Porzingis was ready: He contributed 11 points, three rebounds and three blocks in the opening frame alone. 

It was a dominating performance, the kind of effort Dallas hoped the Latvian would’ve provided its franchise back when it acquired him from the New York Knicks in 2019. 

By the time the opening quarter came to a close, the Celtics held a 17-point lead over the Mavs — the largest lead at the end of a first quarter in NBA Finals history

Things didn’t improve much for the Mavericks from there. In the second quarter, the team expanded its lead to 29 at one point. And while the Mavericks did make a push to come back at the start of the third — cutting the lead to just eight points — the Celtics were able to sustain that push and respond with a run of its own, closing out the third with a 20-point lead.

The Mavericks never seemed to find their groove in Game 1 — a point seemingly conceded by coach Jason Kidd when he pulled his starters from the game with just over four and a half minutes remaining in the contest.

Luka Doncic still filled the stat sheet as he does, posting 30 points, 10 boards and, in a bit of a surprise, just one assist. His running mate Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, never made his presence very felt, contributing just 12 points, three rebounds and two assists. The only other Mavericks players to score in double-digits were P.J. Washington, who added 14 points and eight boards, and Jaden Hardy, who scored most of his 13 points in garbage time.

Those efforts were nowhere near enough to compete with the Celtics. Porzingis ended the night with 20 points, six boards, six assists and three blocks. Jaylen Brown was a stat machine, meanwhile, with 22 points, six rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocks. Jayson Tatum contributed just 16 points on the night and turned the ball over six times, but didn’t need to offer any more than that.

“It’s feeling good, I’m not going to lie,” Porzingis said in a mid-game interview on the ABC broadcast after the third quarter. “But I prepared for this moment mentally.”

If the Mavericks are seeking a positive note to hang their hats on after this one — their lowest offensive output of the playoffs — it’s that they lost the opening games of the first two rounds of the playoffs before coming back to win those series.

They’ll look to turn the tide when Game 2 of the Finals tips off at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, on WFAA

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