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Offseason | NBA Week 26

NBA Finals G3: Celtics-Mavericks Preview, Props, Trends

Wed Jun 12 12:44pm ET
Field Level Media

The NBA Finals enters a pivotal Game 3 with two distinct possibilities: the Boston Celtics take a commanding 3-0 lead and inch closer to the franchise's first title since 2008, or the Dallas Mavericks show some life and start to turn the tide of what has been a one-sided series so far.


The Mavericks are favorites at home despite opening the Finals with a pair of one-sided losses. That's due in part to the series shifting to Dallas and in large part to a key injury facing Boston.

Dallas is a 2.5-point favorite at BetRivers, where the Mavericks have been backed by 60 percent of the spread-line money. Their -137 moneyline also has drawn 67 percent of the money and 63 percent of the total bets.

Meanwhile, the 213-point Over/Under has seen the Over backed by 67 percent of the money.


--Kyrie Irving Over 23.5 Points (-110 at DraftKings): Irving has struggled through the first two games of the series, averaging just 14.0 points on 35.1 percent shooting from the floor. However, he averaged 25.6 points per game for the season, and Dallas' season is essentially on the line Wednesday night. This has been the most popular player total point prop at the book ahead of Game 3.

--Luka Doncic Over 3.5 3-Pointers Made (-190 at BetRivers): This has garnered the most player prop tickets at the book with 4.1 percent. Doncic made four three-points in each of the first two games of the series and has made at least four in six consecutive postseason games.


The Celtics have proven to be the deeper, more talented team early on. Boston has been winning despite struggling on the offensive end such as shooting just 10 of 39 (25.6 percent) from 3-point range in Game 2.

The Mavs, meanwhile, can't rely solely on Doncic, who posted a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Game 2, a 105-98 loss at Boston. Doncic put together that performance after being listed as questionable for the game. It was revealed that he sustained a chest injury in Game 1 to go along with lingering issues with his right knee and left ankle.

Doncic, who is probable for Game 3, addressed his status on Tuesday, saying: "I feel good. I don't want to get in any more details, but I feel good."

The bigger question for the Mavs is finding a way to get Doncic's top running mate, Irving, going after a slow start. In the two games in Boston, Irving averaged just 14 points on a combined 13-for-37 shooting, including 0-for-8 from long range. If Dallas wants to get back in the series, Irving needs to find a way to make a greater impact.

"They're not going to stop pressing us, stop their pace, stop testing us on both ends of the floor," Irving said. "We know what we're in for. But now we have to raise it to an even higher level, and it starts with me."

Of course, that's easier said than done against a Boston defense that is dynamic and versatile. The Celtics have used multiple defenders to slow down the Mavs' backcourt with Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and Jayson Tatum all being options to provide different looks against Doncic and Irving.


Boston center Kristaps Porzingis is hopeful he'll be able to play after sustaining a left leg injury late in Game 2. The Celtics announced it is unrelated to Porzingis' previous right calf injury. If Porzingis is cleared to play in Game 3, it would be his first appearance in Dallas since being traded by the Mavs in February 2022.

Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said the decision on Porzingis' status - listed Wednesday afternoon as questionable -- will come down to the medical staff.

"He's doing anything and everything he can to be ready for the game tomorrow. It's a serious injury," Mazzulla said. "At the end of the day, our team and the medical team is not going to put him in any bad situations."


Boston is in the driver's seat based on league history, as 31 of 36 teams who had a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals went on to win it. So, what's the Celtics approach going into Game 3 as they look to extend their perfect road record in the playoffs to 7-0?

"Trying to be the hungrier team," Holiday said. "We're going to go out there and try and execute a game plan."


"One game, I could explode. All the percentages and things like that could change. So, it's just that mindset of I'm one game away or whatever that means." --Tatum on his two sub-par shooting nights to begin the Finals.

-- Drew Davison, Field Level Media

Player Notes
Derrick White Tue Jun 11 2:20pm

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Boston Celtics guard Derrick White will look for a contract extension from the team this offseason. The 29-year-old arguably had the best season of his career in 2023-24, averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 steals. He also shot 39.6% from deep. White is currently playing on a four-year, $70 million contract he signed while still with the San Antonio Spurs. But the Celtics will likely do all they can to stop him from reaching free agency next offseason, so fantasy managers shouldn't be surprised to see him ink a new deal with Boston over the summer.

Isaiah Hartenstein Tue Jun 11 2:20pm

New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein has been strongly linked with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sources have told Stefan Pondy of The New York Post that the Thunder are the "top threat" to pry Hartenstein away from New York. The 26-year-old is heading toward unrestricted free agency and is expected to get a big contract. A recent report suggested that teams are willing to offer as much as $80-100 million for his services. Meanwhile, the Knicks are limited to a maximum offer of four years, $72.5 million. Hartenstein would provide a big boost to the Thunder's rebounding ability after the team posted the fourth-lowest rebounding rate in the league this season.

Kevon Looney Tue Jun 11 2:20pm

Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney could become a free agent this summer. "I think the likeliest situation is that he's cut, and he makes $3 million from them, and he's off looking for another spot," said Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on a recent episode of the Warriors Plus Minus podcast. Looney has a $8 million deal in place for next season, but only $3 million of it is guaranteed. The salary will be fully guaranteed on June 24. Looney had a career year in 2022-23, but the emergence of Trayce Jackson-Davis has made him surplus to requirements in San Francisco. However, as an experienced veteran who is an outstanding rebounder, Looney should have no problems finding a new team.

Paul George Tue Jun 11 2:20pm

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Orlando Magic are seen as a "natural suitor" for Paul George and Klay Thompson. Both players could hit the open market this summer and would fit in well with the Magic. Thompson could prove the team much-needed three-point shooting, while George's addition would boost Orlando at both ends. After having his worst campaign in nine years, a change of surroundings should improve Thompson's fantasy stock. George's numbers might get better as well with bigger usage on a team that doesn't have as many star names as the Los Angeles Clippers.

Nikola Jovic Tue Jun 11 2:20pm

Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic is hoping to take another step forward in 2024-25. "There's not one thing that I can focus on, I have to focus on so many of them, like from shooting to dribbling, passing, basically everything," Jovic told Cyro Asseo de Choch of HoopsHype, "I feel like there's so much room and space where I can improve, and I feel like I'll show it at least a little more next season." Jovic, who turned 20 at the weekend, averaged 7.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 19.5 minutes this season. He finished the campaign as a starter and could be someone to keep an eye on next season in fantasy basketball.

Yuta Watanabe Tue Jun 11 2:20pm

Memphis Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe appears to be on his way out of the NBA. According to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews, the Japanese forward will move back to his homeland and is close to joining the Chiba Jets. Watanabe started the 2023-24 campaign with the Phoenix Suns before getting traded to Memphis in February. He made 34 appearances this season, averaging 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in 13.6 minutes. Watanabe has career averages of 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 213 games. The 29-year-old has struggled to make an impact in the Association and will decline a $2.6 million player option to move back to Japan.

Luka Doncic Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (ankle, knee, chest) was downgraded to questionable ahead of Game 2 of the NBA Finals against Boston. He has been battling knee and ankle soreness throughout the postseason and was deemed probable to play as of Saturday night. However, the 25-year-old is now dealing with a thoracic contusion. With that in mind, Doncic will likely do everything he can to get on the floor on Sunday night. But considering he's the costliest DFS option available for fantasy managers, the ailments could make it challenging for him to exceed his value enough to justify his presence in any lineup. On a positive note, Doncic's condition could open the door for more involvement from Kyrie Irving, who struggled in Game 1.

Luka Doncic Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (chest, knee, ankle) will play on Sunday night against the Celtics. Doncic has been banged up all postseason. He was probable on Saturday night because of lingering knee and ankle soreness. However, there was concern about his availability when he was downgraded to questionable on Sunday because of a thoracic contusion. Of course, there was little chance Doncic would miss such an important game. But with his list of ailments growing, his DFS impact may be less than usual.

Luka Doncic Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic produced a triple-double in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against Boston. But it wasn't enough, with the Celtics securing their second win of the series. Doncic entered this contest carrying a questionable designation because of a thoracic contusion along with knee and ankle soreness. While it's apparent he's still burdened by the ailments, he produced 32 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and four steals. The 25-year-old shot the ball better on Sunday than in Game 2. However, he also committed eight turnovers. With the Mavs down two games, both teams will head to Dallas for Game 3 on Wednesday. DFS managers should expect to see Doncic on the injury report, although he'll likely be out there.

Jayson Tatum Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum just missed a triple-double in Sunday's win over the Mavericks, ending the night with 18 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds. While the Celtics took the win to put the team up two games in the series, Tatum continues to struggle shooting the ball, going 6-for-22 from the field and 1-for-7 from deep. Fortunately, he was still a welcome addition to DFS lineups, although his shooting woes must be addressed ahead of Game 3 in Dallas on Wednesday night.

Kyrie Irving Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving had 18 points in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against Boston on Sunday night. He added six assists and two boards. Irving shot 6-for-19 from the field in Game 1. However, he improved on Sunday, ending the evening by going 7-for-18 from the field. Unfortunately, he has missed all eight tries from deep in the series' first two games. But the 32-year-old and the rest of the Dallas offense have a chance to get it together in Game 3 on Wednesday evening.

Jaylen Brown Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown scored 21 points in the win over the Mavericks on Sunday. He added seven assists, four rebounds, and six steals. This wasn't Brown's finest outing, considering he shot 1-for-5 from deep and committed six turnovers. However, he was good enough to help his team go up two games in the series. The 27-year-old averaged nearly 30 points in the Eastern Conference Finals. But he hasn't been as productive against Dallas. With that in mind, Brown is due for a big performance, giving him plenty of upside for DFS managers for Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Kristaps Porzingis Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis came off the bench again for Game 2 of the NBA Finals versus Dallas. While he played better in Game 1, the 28-year-old still had a decent showing, ending the night by amassing 12 points, four rebounds, and two blocks. He has averaged just 22 minutes throughout the series. However, Porzingis appeared to injure his leg late in the contest, so there's reason to believe he may appear on the injury report for Game 3 in Dallas. Considering he missed over a month because of a Soleus strain, the team won't take any chances. With that said, DFS managers will likely get an update on Porzingis' health in the next day or two. But if he re-injured his calf, Al Horford could find himself getting more minutes.

Jrue Holiday Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday enjoyed a big night in Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals against Dallas on Sunday, scoring a team-high 28 points on near-perfect 11-for-14 shooting. It's his second-highest scoring effort of the season following a 28-point effort in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus Indiana. Holiday got there mostly with nifty finishes around the rim, but he also shot the three-ball well, finishing 2-for-4 from downtown. The 2021 NBA champion also led Boston with 11 rebounds and registered three assists with one steal and one block. It's been a good start to the Finals for Holiday, who averages 19.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists with 44.4 percent three-point shooting through the first couple of games.

Derrick White Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White had a good two-way performance as the team grabbed a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals against Dallas with a 105-98 win on Sunday. White posted 18 points with five rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks. His second swat came late in the game against P.J. Washington at the rim to stop Dallas' comeback effort. The two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team member struggled a bit with his shooting, going 6-for-15 from the field, but he nailed four of his 10 attempts from behind the arc. White's three-point shooting provided a big boost to the Celtics, who otherwise had a miserable night from downtown with a 10-for-39 record. We should see White get involved in everything again on Wednesday as Boston tries to take a 3-0 lead in the series.

Kristaps Porzingis Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Boston Celtics forward/center Kristaps Porzingis said he will be "good" for Game 3 against Dallas despite appearing to suffer a new injury blow in Sunday's Game 2. After missing 10 games with a calf problem, Porzingis appeared to have sustained another leg injury late in the game when he tried to contest a shot from P.J. Washington. He was moving gingerly following the incident and didn't see the court in the final 4:40. Porzingis added postgame that the ailment wasn't related to his right calf injury, which forced him to sit out over a month of postseason action. With Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla saying he has "zero" concern about Porzingis ' health moving forward, it looks like we will see the Latvian big man back on the court Wednesday night. Porzingis has posted 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks with superb 60 percent shooting from a bench role in the Finals.

Daniel Gafford Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford was very close to his second postseason double-double of the year in Sunday's Game 2 defeat to Boston, finishing the contest with 13 points and nine rebounds. Gafford, who is an extremely efficient scorer, was once again sharp from the field, hitting 6-for-9. He registered one block at the other end, logging 23 minutes of action after being limited to only 14 minutes in Game 1. Following an underwhelming performance in the Finals opener, Gafford was back in form on Sunday. But it looks like the Mavericks need even more from him, with Boston now 2-0 up in the series.

PJ Washington Mon Jun 10 2:10pm

Dallas Mavericks forward/center P.J. Washington continued to struggle from downtown in Game 2 against Boston on Sunday, but he still ended up as the team's second-best scorer behind Luka Doncic. The versatile big man finished a 105-98 loss with 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting. He was 1-for-5 with the three-ball and has now hit 9-for-40 overall from behind the arc since the start of the Western Conference Finals. The Mavericks could really use Washington's three-point bombs right now, having averaged only 93.5 points in the Finals. In Sunday's Game 2, the former Hornet also recorded seven rebounds with one assist and one block in 40 minutes.

Cade Cunningham Sun Jun 9 2:00pm

According to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham could receive a contract extension this offseason. Edwards, who covers the Pistons, is "99.9 percent sure" it will happen, adding he'd "be stunned" if it didn't. The 2021 No. 1 overall pick has averaged 20.0 points, 6.5 assists, and 5.0 rebounds during his career. But some may argue against giving Cunningham a max rookie extension, considering he's been limited to 138 games since entering the league because of various injuries. Nonetheless, he still has upside for fantasy managers if he can stay healthy during most of the 2024-25 campaign. However, he has had issues taking care of the ball, averaging 3.5 turnovers. At the same time, Cunningham has shot a subpar 32.9% from behind the arc, which won't earn him praise from category participants.

Sasha Vezenkov Sun Jun 9 2:00pm

According to Mihalis Stefanou of, citing sources, Sacramento Kings forward Sasha Vezenkov informed the team he doesn't intend to return. While it's unknown if the 2023 EuroLeague MVP wants to remain in the NBA or head back overseas, it appears he won't be suiting up for Sacramento in 2024-25. Vezenkov, who signed a three-year, $20 million deal with the Kings last summer, averaged only 5.4 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 37.5% from deep in 42 games. With that said, there should be more updates on this situation heading into the offseason. But Vezenkov has plenty of talent, so he could turn things around if he stays in the NBA and gets playing time, whether it be in Sacramento or with a new team.