Starting 5 Daily Newsletter

Starting 5, June 10: Celtics’ depth shines in Game 2 win

Jrue Holiday’s 26 points, Jayson Tatum’s 12 assists and another strong defensive effort helped Boston take a 2-0 Finals lead.

Starting 5

When you’re two wins away from the title and riding a nine-game win streak.


What’s inside today’s edition? 

Team effort: Holiday’s scoring, Tatum’s playmaking & everyone’s defense led to Boston’s win

‘Utility Guy’: Jrue Holiday does whatever is needed to win. In Game 2, it was points, boards & defense

Ball movement: Boston assisted on 29 of its 38 buckets in Sunday’s Game 2 win

Luka’s effort: A game-time decision to play, Doncic delivered a triple-double for Dallas

All-Access: Go behind-the-scenes from Game 2 with our on-the-ground correspondents


Game 2 and the remaining Finals schedule …

It’s a travel day as the NBA Finals shift to Dallas for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Stay tapped in on the NBA App for the latest news and exclusive access.


Boston answers Dallas' 3rd-quarter surge with balance on both ends to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

With 51 seconds left in the 4th quarter and the Mavs down 103-98, P.J. Washington elevated for a fastbreak dunk that would make Game 2 of the NBA Finals a one-possession game.

No one stood between Washington and the rim.

But then Derrick White and Jaylen Brown flew in from behind for a chasedown block. Less than a minute later, the Celtics had a 105-98 win and a 2-0 series lead. | Recap

  • 🗣️ Jrue Holiday On The Clutch Block: “It was amazing … I think maybe D-White got it first, and then JB got it second, but just the effort … to go out there and get that block is elite.”

On a night when Boston shot 25.6% from 3, Luka Doncic posted a 32-point triple-double and Jayson Tatum went just 6-of-22 from the field, the Celtics found a way to win using a complete team effort.

  • Finals Four: Holiday (26), Brown (21), Tatum (18), and White (18) all scored 18+ points, making Boston the sixth team since 2000 to have four 18+ point scorers in a Finals game — most recently done by the 2022 Celtics
  • Porzingis & Pritchard: Kristaps Porzingis added 12 points and a game-high 26.1 net rating, followed by Payton Pritchard (16.7), who nailed a 37-footer at the buzzer to give the Cs a nine-point lead entering the 4th quarter

Boston’s scoring distribution began with Tatum’s facilitating, as the Cs star overcame a cold shooting night by posting a game-high 12 assists — tied for the second-most in his career.

  • Historic Quarter: After going 0-4 from the field in the 1st quarter, Tatum had seven assists in the 2nd, the most in an NBA Finals quarter since John Stockton in 1998
  • Sharing is Winning: The Celtics are now 10-3 when Tatum has 10+ assists in his career, including nine straight wins dating back to the 2021-22 season
  • 🗣️ Coach Joe Mazzulla: “It’s connected, that’s what people don’t realize. Every guy on our team can’t be at their best if this guy doesn’t do that. So Jayson’s facilitating … that leads to Jrue’s playmaking.”
  • 🗣️ Tatum: “Shooting the ball is the least of my worries. How can I dominate the game in other ways? And when my scoring meets the level of my defense and rebounding and assists, it’ll all be complete.”


Jrue Holiday has spent a career contributing to success, and is shining once again on the Finals stage.

Only one player on this Celtics roster has a title on his resume.

Jrue Holiday in 2021 with Milwaukee.

His performance in Boston’s 105-98 win on Sunday has the rest of his teammates just two wins away from their first. | Best of Jrue’s Game 2

  • Holiday (26 pts, 11-14 FG, 11 reb, 3 ast, 0 tov) became the first player with 25+ points and 10+ rebounds while shooting at least 75% with zero turnovers in an NBA Finals game since turnovers began being tracked in 1977-78
  • 🗣️ Derrick White On Holiday: “That championship DNA, which you hear all about all the time … You don’t really know what it takes, until you do what it takes. Just the moment he came to our team in training camp, he kind of just had that presence about him. He just knows how to win.”

The Celtics acquired Holiday from Portland (via Milwaukee) just two days before training camp opened. His presence has paid dividends throughout the season and the Finals, with Holiday at the leading spot on Michael C. Wright’s Finals MVP ladder.

  • Game 1: Kristaps Porzingis (from Washington) sparked the Celtics with 20 points in his first game in 38 days following a calf strain
  • Game 2: Holiday led the Celtics in points (26) and rebounds (11) along with his usual defensive intensity and instincts

🗣️ Holiday On His Role: I’m here to win. I feel like they brought me here to win and I’ll do my best to do that.”

  • Holiday led the team in scoring for only the second time all season – the previous time came back in January
  • Holiday led the team in rebounding for the seventh time this season – the first time since late December

🗣️ Jaylen Brown on Holiday: “Since he’s been here, his role has been different from what it was the last few years on Milwaukee, and he’s been able to adapt. Not a lot of guys can do that, be versatile, play different roles and different styles and still have an effect on the game. …

“He’s just a hell of a player, hell of a person, great teammate. I credit the victory to him tonight. He played well.”

  • Holiday’s first season in Milwaukee – helped the Bucks win their first title in 50 seasons
  • Holiday’s first season in Boston – has helped the Cs take a 2-0 Finals lead in pursuit of title 18


Jrue Holiday made a team-high 11 shots in Game 2 – and every one of his buckets was assisted.

Eight layups, two 3-pointers and a dunk.

  • 🗣️ Mazzulla: “That’s the most important thing, is take what the defense gives you, whether it’s a layup or three.”

On a night when their 3s weren’t falling – shooting 5-of-29 (17.2%) from deep before Payton Pritchard’s buzzer-beater to end the 3rd quarter – the Celtics had to find other ways to score.

And they did so by finding each other.

  • The Celtics assisted on 29 of their 38 made baskets in Game 2 – a Playoff-best 76.3% assist rate – with their star duo leading the way
  • Jayson Tatum dished out a dozen dimes (his highest mark of these Playoffs and one shy of a Playoff career-high), while Jaylen Brown added seven more (equalling his Playoff career-high)
  • Every starter – plus Pritchard off the bench – had at least two assists in the win

If At First You Don’t Succeed: When Dallas shut down Boston’s first drive and kick by Brown, the Celtics swung it to Tatum for another, resulting in a wide-open corner 3 for Holiday

On The Run: The Celtics got out on a four-on-one fast break, with the ball going from Pritchard to Tatum to Brown and through the net on the dunk in under three seconds. Boston finished with a 15-7 edge in fast break points

Defense To Offense: Holiday got the deflection and Derrick White got the steal, saving it to Holiday before going out of bounds. Holiday got it to Horford, which froze the defender before Horford went back to Holiday for three of Boston’s 21 points off turnovers

Swing It: Brown with the drive and kick to Horford, who began the pass around the horn to Tatum for his only 3 of the game on seven attempts


Luka Doncic has delivered time and again for the Mavericks this postseason, but the strain is starting to show against Boston.

On Sunday afternoon, just hours away from tip-off, Luka Doncic’s status for Game 2 was downgraded from ‘probable’ to ‘questionable.’

Already playing through a right knee sprain and a sore left ankle for most of the Playoffs, Luka added a thoracic contusion to his list of ailments. Dallas coach Jason Kidd said it would be a game-time decision if Luka could give it a go.

Luka didn’t just go — he went off.

  • Doncic was hot from the jump, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the 1st quarter as Dallas led by as many as seven points in the opening frame
  • He finished the 1st half with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting as Dallas trailed by three at the break

He posted his seventh triple-double (32 pts, 11 reb, 11 ast, 4 stl, 4 3s) of the 2024 Playoffs, tying him with Wilt Chamberlain (7, 1967) for the second most in a single postseason behind Nikola Jokic (10, 2023).

With 10 career Playoff triple-doubles, Luka moved into a four-way tie with Larry Bird, Draymond Green and Rajon Rondo for sixth place all-time. Who’s next on the list? Mavs coach Jason Kidd (11).

After being held to one assist in Game 1 – the lowest mark of his Playoff career – Luka got back to his usual scoring and playmaking duality that makes him so difficult to defend and so fun to watch.

Ultimately, there was not enough Luka Magic to overcome the Celtics in Boston as Dallas finds itself down 2-0 for the first time this postseason.

  • Streaking Cs: After dropping Game 2 in each of the first two rounds of the Playoffs, the Celtics have won nine straight games dating back to Game 3 of the East Semis against Cleveland
  • Boston is the 12th team in NBA history with such a streak, and it is the longest streak in Celtics postseason history

Despite struggling from 3-point range, the Celtics fend off the Mavericks to take a 2-0 lead in the 2024 NBA Finals.

Boston’s Defense: For only the second time this postseason, the Mavs have been held under 100 points in consecutive games. | Celtics Lockdown Defense

  • Dallas entered the Finals averaging 107.9 ppg in the Playoffs. Through two games of the Finals, the Celtics have held the Mavs to 93.5 ppg – a 14.4 ppg difference
  • In Game 2, Boston had 10 steals and five blocks, marking only their fourth such Finals game in franchise history since 1973-74 (when stl and blk began being tracked)

Game-Changing Run: The final tie of the game came at 57-57 with 10:14 left in the 3rd quarter. From there, Boston went on an 18-6 run to build a 12-point lead (75-63).

  • Holiday led the way with six points (3-3 FG), while Brown (4), Tatum (3), White (3) and Porzingis (2) also chipped in
  • Dallas would challenge down the stretch, but never got within five points the rest of the game


🗣️ Amen Thompson: “It’s so loud in here it doesn’t even make sense.”

Go inside TD Garden with NBA Finals Correspondents Amen and Ausar Thompson and Content Creator Jesser to witness the atmosphere of Game 2 through our exclusive All-Access Story.

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