Three turning points for Game 4 of the NBA Finals

    Facing elimination on their home floor, the Dallas Mavericks stayed alive on Friday. In a dominant effort from start to finish, they destroyed the Boston Celtics, 122-84, forcing a Game 5 on Sunday. 

    Here are three turning points from Friday’s NBA Finals action.

    1. Mavericks first-half defense

    Dallas erupted for 34 first-quarter points to jump on the Celtics early, but an intense defensive effort in the first half set the tone in Game 4. The Mavericks held the Celtics to only 35 points at the break, their lowest (regular season or playoffs) halftime output under head coach Joe Mazzulla.

    Boston shot only 29.7 percent (11-of-37) from the field before the break. Meanwhile, the Mavericks dominated the boards, outrebounding the Celtics 21-8 on the defensive end and 29-13 overall. 

    Not wanting to see the Celtics celebrate winning the Larry O’Brien trophy on their home floor, the Mavericks came out motivated. They roasted Boston on both ends of the floor, but their aggressive defense from tipoff played perhaps the most significant role in Dallas staving off elimination. 

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