Mavericks Notes: Game 4, Adjustments, Doncic, Kidd

The Mavericks came away with the third-largest victory in a game in NBA Finals history on Friday, defeating Boston 122-84 to cut the Celtics’ series lead to 3-1, Eddie Sefko of writes.

We had to play our A game,” coach Jason Kidd said. “It was this or we go on vacation. I thought the group did a great job of not pressing, letting the game happen. We made a stand. We were desperate. We got to continue to keep playing that way. They’re trying to find a way to close the door. The hardest thing in this league is to close the door when you have a group that has nothing to lose. Tonight you saw that. They let go of the rope, you know, pretty early.

Luka Doncic put up a strong first half with 25 points, helping the Mavericks build a big early lead that they never surrendered. Doncic had spoken after Game 3 about wanting to have fun on the court again, and it certainly seemed like that was the case in Game 4, Sefko writes.

It doesn’t change anything,” Doncic said. “It’s first to four. And we’re going to believe until the end. So we’re just going to keep going. I have big belief in this team.

We have more from the Mavericks:

  • The Mavs finally made their opponent think by making some critical adjustments, The Athletic’s Tim Cato writes. Dallas has historically done well in the playoffs after falling into a deficit under Kidd, and Game 4 was no exception. Dereck Lively II looked comfortable and Dante Exum saw more action, scoring 10 points off the bench and proving he can contribute. “We waited until Game 4 to ultimately play our best game,Kyrie Irving said. “But we have another opportunity to extend the season. That’s all we can ask for. We handled our business tonight. But the job is still an uphill battle, and we understand that.
  • Doncic showed the basketball world that he’s willing and ready to take a step with his game, Sam Amick of The Athletic writes. Doncic apologized for his Game 3 actions involving referees and then was more composed in Game 4. Amick writes that Doncic’s three steals also signal his willingness to improve as a two-way player.
  • Kidd defended Doncic prior to Game 4, Joe Vardon of The Athletic observes. “For whatever reason, there have been some personal attacks on him, but he will learn from them and he will be better when he comes back from it,” Kidd said ahead of Friday’s game. Kidd said Doncic deserves a break but also pointed out that some of the league’s greatest have taken this sort of criticism before finding long-term success.
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