2024 NBA Finals

Mavericks beat Celtics in Game 4 by 3rd-largest margin in NBA Finals history

Only the 1998 Chicago Bulls and 2008 Boston Celtics have won by more points in an NBA Finals game.

Luka Doncic and the Mavericks made history with their 38-point rout of Boston in Game 4.

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Dallas rarely missed. Boston mostly did. The result was a commanding double-digit Mavericks lead.

And that was just the first quarter.

The Mavericks rolled in all 48 minutes and led by as many as 48 points before wrapping up the 122-84 Game 4 win on Friday. The 38-point margin of victory is the third-largest in NBA Finals history.

Only the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls (against Utah in 1998) and Boston Celtics (against the Lakers in 2008) have beaten a team by more points in a Finals game.

Largest margins of victory in NBA Finals history

Margin of victory Winning team Losing team Date Score
42 Chicago Bulls Utah Jazz June 7, 1998 96-54
39 Boston Celtics L.A. Lakers June 17, 2008 131-92
38 Dallas Mavericks Boston Celtics June 14, 2024 122-84
36 San Antonio Spurs Miami Heat June 11, 2013 113-77
35 Washington Bullets Seattle SuperSonics June 4, 1978 117-82
34 Boston Celtics St. Louis Hawks April 2, 1961 129-95
34 Boston Celtics L.A. Lakers May 27, 1985 148-114

Luka Doncic fueled the Mavericks rout, scoring a franchise-record 25 points in the first half.

“It’s real simple. We don’t have to complicate this. This isn’t surgery,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “Our group was ready to go. They were ready to celebrate and we made a stand. We were desperate. We’ve got to continue to keep playing that way. They’re trying 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.”

In contrast, Boston saw the worst loss in its own illustrious Finals history. Before Friday, the worst championship round defeat for the 17-time champion Celtics was 137-104 to the Lakers in 1984. This was worse. Much worse, at times. Dallas’ biggest lead in the fourth was 48 — the biggest deficit the Celtics have faced all season.

“Preparation doesn’t guarantee an automatic success,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “I thought we had a great process. I thought we had a great shootaround. Thought we had a great film session yesterday. I thought the guys came out with the right intentions. I just didn’t think it went our way, and I thought Dallas outplayed us. They just played harder.”

Dallas will need more wins to keep making history, particularly that which has never been done before: a team rallying from a 3-0 deficit in an NBA playoff series. Four teams have forced a Game 7 after trailing 3-0, but none have finished off the series win.

Game 5 is at Boston on Monday (8:30 ET, ABC).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.