Starting 5 Daily Newsletter

Starting 5, June 12: Game 3 of NBA Finals tonight in Dallas

Will Game 3 put the Celtics one win away from title No. 18, or will it be the first step towards a Mavs comeback?

Starting 5That back at home feeling.

Luka and the Mavs have the Finals back in Dallas for the first time in 13 years.


THE LINEUP 🏀

What’s inside today’s edition? 

Game 3 In 1 minute: Everything you need to know ahead of tonight’s tipoff

Mavs ready to rally? What the Mavs had to say ahead of tonight’s critical Game 3

Celtics staying focused: The Celtics are up 2-0, but say they’re trying to play like they’re down

On the ground: Go behind the scenes in Dallas with Keyonte George and Lethal Shooter

Best of Game 3s: Look back at the top moments from Game 3s of past Finals


BUT FIRST … ⏰

The remaining Finals schedule …

Tonight, Dallas hosts its first Finals game since 2011 when the Mavs and Celtics meet at 8:30 ET on ABC

Before tip-off, test your knowledge by listing the players to score 40+ points in a Finals game over the past 10 years

Countdown To Game 3: Head to the NBA App now to stream some of history’s most iconic Game 3s leading up to tonight


1. GAME 3 IN 1 MINUTE

The history: Teams that go down 2-0 in the Finals have a 22-14 record in Game 3s, but no club has ever climbed out of a 3-0 hole in Playoff history.

The question: Can the Mavs turn things around in Dallas and cut their 2-0 deficit in half, or will the Celtics take a commanding 3-0 lead?

At your fingertips is everything you need to know for tonight’s Game 3 (8:30 ET, ABC).

  • Unbeaten Away From Boston: The Celtics are 6-0 on the road this postseason, and Jayson Tatum averages 5.5 more points (28.3) than he does at home (22.8)
  • Celtics Streak: Boston’s nine-game win streak is the franchise’s longest in Playoff history, and a victory tonight would make them just the ninth team to win 10 straight games in a single postseason
  • Dallas Dip: Dallas averaged 107.9 ppg in the first three rounds of the Playoffs, but Boston has held them to 93.5 ppg in the Finals – a 14.4-point drop-off
  • Mavs 3-Ball: After shooting 37.2% from 3 in the first three rounds of the Playoffs, Dallas is shooting 24.5% from 3 in the Finals
  • Balance: Luka Doncic leads the Finals in scoring (31.0 ppg), but the next five top scorers are Celtics – Jaylen Brown (21.5), Jrue Holiday (19.0), Tatum (17.0), Derrick White (16.5) and Kristaps Porzingis (16.0)
  • Uptick In Texas: Dallas’ offensive rating is nearly three points higher at home (115.3) this postseason, with increases in FG% (+2.5%) and 3P% (+4.3%) from players outside of Luka and Kyrie
  • Trends: Boston hasn’t lost four out of five games all season, but two teams have erased 2-0 series deficits to win the Finals in the past eight years – the 2016 Cavs and the 2021 Bucks

Can’t Miss Content Ahead Of Game 3


2. MAVS READY TO RALLY?

After dropping a 2nd straight game in Boston, the Mavericks must get more out of Kyrie Irving and the supporting cast in Game 3.

The Mavs don’t have to look far to find someone that’s been in their position before – trailing 2-0 in the NBA Finals.

  • Kyrie Irving and the 2016 Cavs were down 2-0 to the Warriors before pulling off the biggest comeback in Finals history
  • The Cavs won Game 3 at home, but lost Game 4 to go down 3-1 before rallying back to win the final three games – with Kyrie hitting the game-winning 3 in Game 7 – to become the first team to ever overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals
  • 🗣️ Kyrie: “I’ve been down 0-2 before — lost a series, won a series. I know what it takes. Also how to prepare for something like that mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically.”

Kyrie with the 2017 Cavs and Mavs coach Jason Kidd with the 2002 Nets have also been on the wrong end of a 2-0 deficit – with Irving and the Cavs losing in five games and Kidd and the Nets being swept.

Kyrie knows that Luka Doncic and the Mavs need more from him in order to get back in this series.

  • 🗣️ Kyrie: “It started with me just telling my hermano I got to play better for him, alongside him. In order for us to accomplish our goal, we both have to be playing well.”

The Mavs are excited to be home – where they went 26-15 in the regular season and 5-3 so far in the Playoffs – and hope the change of venue can bring some buckets after Dallas shot just 24.5% from 3 in the first two games in Boston.

  • 🗣️ Kidd: “The cliché is role players play better at home, so we’ll see. … We’re home. Understanding that Boston held serve, that’s what we’re talking about, is just focusing on Game 3. We felt in Game 2 we had opportunities we just let get away from us.”
  • 🗣️ Luka To His Teammates: “Just one thing: Keep shooting. We all believe in those shots. That’s how we came to the Finals. That’s how we played the whole season. We believe in those guys.”

3. CELTICS STAYING FOCUSED

Jaylen Brown discusses his focus heading into Game 3 of the Finals with Boston up 2-0 against the Mavericks.

Teams that go up 2-0 in the Finals have won the series 86.1% of the time, but the Celtics weren’t interested in percentages during yesterday’s media session.

  • 🗣️ Coach Joe Mazzulla: “The closer you are to winning, the easier it is to become distracted by things that you can’t control and things that don’t matter.”
  • 🗣️ Jaylen Brown: “You gotta trick your mind. You almost gotta play like you’re down 0-2 rather than up. That’s hard to do, but you gotta go into that mind frame.”

Through two games this series, Boston has held Dallas to just 1.0 points per possession, its worst two-game stretch of offense this season with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving both in the lineup.

But Kristaps Porzingis, Boston’s highest-rated defender thus far in the Finals (min. 20 mpg), is uncertain for Game 3 with a leg injury.

  • 🗣️ Mazzulla: “It’s a serious injury … We’ve taken the decision to play out of his hands because the importance of him. He’s going to do everything he can to play, and then we’re going to leave it up with our medical team.”
  • 🗣️ KP: “It’s going to be day-to-day, and I’ll see how I am tomorrow. Obviously, I’m going to do everything I can to be out there.”
  • 🗣️ Jayson Tatum: “We’ve found ways to win without him, but obviously, we’re better when he’s out there.”

Next Man Up: The Celtics are 9-1 this postseason without Porzingis, who suffered a calf strain in the First Round before returning for the Finals.

  • 🗣️ Brown: “We’ve prepared for these moments to be able to play with or without anyone. So it’ll just require somebody else on our team to step up and everyone to buy in to get a full team victory.”
  • 🗣️ Tatum: “Trying to win the next game – that’s what’s most important at this time.”

4. ON THE GROUND IN DALLAS

Game 3 Media Session: Keyonte George of the Utah Jazz and Skills Coach Lethal Shooter hit the hardwood in Dallas on Tuesday as NBA correspondents at the Finals.

  • 🗣️ Lethal Shooter: “This is the bright lights. The NBA Finals.”
  • 🗣️ Keyonte George: “Not bad, eh? Not bad.”

Keyonte discussed what it meant to see fellow Dallas native P.J. Washington playing for the Mavs in the Finals, received advice from Kyrie Irving and reflected with fellow rookie Dereck Lively II on their first NBA seasons.

  • 🗣️ Keyonte On Washington: “Him being from Dallas and him being older than me … It’s kind of cool for him to be back home and get to play for the hometown team.”
  • 🗣️ Kyrie Gives Keyonte Advice: “It starts with being aware of your own goals and what you want to accomplish … But also what’s going to bring you peace of mind off the court.”
  • 🗣️ Lively On His Rookie Year: “Going into the season, I definitely didn’t think I would be in the Finals … I’m just grateful for coming to a team like Dallas.”

Lethal Shooter caught up with his client Jaylen Brown, spoke on what it means to see him in the Finals and praised both teams’ focus at practice following their media sessions.

  • 🗣️ Lethal Shooter On The Practices: “This is why these guys are the best in the world … They turned a switch to be locked in.”
  • 🗣️ Lethal Shooter On Game 3: “This is going to be a big game. You do not wanna miss it.”

5. NBA FINALS: TOP GAME 3 MOMENTS

Before tonight’s Game 3, we look back at some of the best moments and performances from Game 3s of past NBA Finals – including four teams that overcame a 2-0 deficit to win the title.

Top Game 3 Moments: Before 2000 | Since 2000

1970: After Dave DeBusschere’s jumper put the Knicks up two with three seconds left, Jerry West launched a 60-footer that dropped to force overtime. The Knicks prevailed in OT, 111-108

1970: After Dave DeBusschere’s jumper put the Knicks up two with three seconds left, Jerry West launched a 60-footer that dropped to force overtime. The Knicks prevailed in OT, 111-108

1984: On the same night he dished out a Finals record 21 assists, Magic Johnson kept this shot for himself, finishing the reverse layup as the Lakers took a 2-1 lead on the Celtics

1984: On the same night he dished out a Finals record 21 assists, Magic Johnson kept this shot for himself, finishing the reverse layup as the Lakers took a 2-1 lead on the Celtics

1977: Bill Walton (20 pts, 18 reb, 9 ast, 4 blk) had not one, but two, big dunks down the stretch to lead Portland to a 129-107 win. The 1977 Blazers are one of the five teams to come back from down 2-0 to win the Finals

1977: Bill Walton (20 pts, 18 reb, 9 ast, 4 blk) had not one, but two, big dunks down the stretch to lead Portland to a 129-107 win. The 1977 Blazers are one of the five teams to come back from down 2-0 to win the Finals

1998: Michael Jordan somehow finished this up-and-under layup while being fouled by Utah’s Greg Ostertag as the Bulls posted the largest margin of victory in a Finals game (42 pts) with a 96-54 win

1998: Michael Jordan somehow finished this up-and-under layup while being fouled by Utah’s Greg Ostertag as the Bulls posted the largest margin of victory in a Finals game (42 pts) with a 96-54 win

2016: Down 2-0 in the series, LeBron James (32 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast) and the Cavs opened the 3rd quarter on a 19-5 run, including this do-it-all play from LeBron (steal, recovery and slam – off the assist from Kyrie Irving). This was the first step in Cleveland’s historic rally to win the title

2016: Down 2-0 in the series, LeBron James (32 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast) and the Cavs opened the 3rd quarter on a 19-5 run, including this do-it-all play from LeBron (steal, recovery and slam – off the assist from Kyrie Irving). This was the first step in Cleveland’s historic rally to win the title

2017: Kevin Durant hit this pull-up 3-pointer over LeBron James to put the Warriors up for good with 45 seconds left. The Warriors won the game, 118-113, and the series in five games

2017: Kevin Durant hit this pull-up 3-pointer over LeBron James to put the Warriors up for good with 45 seconds left. The Warriors won the game, 118-113, and the series in five games

1994: Hakeem Olajuwon (21 pts, 11 reb, 7 ast, 7 blk) pulled out the spin and slam from his bag as the Rockets defeated the Knicks at MSG, 93-89, to go up 2-1 in a series they would win in seven games

1994: Hakeem Olajuwon (21 pts, 11 reb, 7 ast, 7 blk) pulled out the spin and slam from his bag as the Rockets defeated the Knicks at MSG, 93-89, to go up 2-1 in a series they would win in seven games

2010: Derek Fisher hit this clutch-and-1 fast-break layup, somehow getting the shot to fall while facing three Boston defenders and getting fouled. The Lakers would win to go up 2-1 and won the series in seven games

2010: Derek Fisher hit this clutch-and-1 fast-break layup, somehow getting the shot to fall while facing three Boston defenders and getting fouled. The Lakers would win to go up 2-1 and won the series in seven games

2006: With the game tied in the game’s closing seconds, Gary Payton made the only shot he took all game to put the Heat up for good with 9.3 seconds left. Dwyane Wade (42 pts, 13 reb) and Miami took the first step toward rallying back from 2-0 to win the Finals

2006: With the game tied in the game’s closing seconds, Gary Payton made the only shot he took all game to put the Heat up for good with 9.3 seconds left. Dwyane Wade (42 pts, 13 reb) and Miami took the first step toward rallying back from 2-0 to win the Finals

2021: Phoenix’s Cam Johnson had the play of the day with this poster dunk, but it was Milwaukee that prevailed as the Bucks began a four-game win streak to take the Finals after going down 2-0

2021: Phoenix’s Cam Johnson had the play of the day with this poster dunk, but it was Milwaukee that prevailed as the Bucks began a four-game win streak to take the Finals after going down 2-0

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