Tatum, Brown send red-hot Celtics to brink of NBA title with gutsy Game 3 win over Mavericks

Published June 13, 2024, 11:37 AMPao Ambat

The Boston Celtics remain undefeated on the road this playoffs at 7-0. They have not lost a postseason game in a month.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 61 points in the NBA Finals Game 3 win over the Mavericks.

Jayson Tatum silenced his critics early and Jaylen Brown provided clutch baskets down the stretch. 

One more win and the Larry O’Brien trophy is back in Boston. 

Tatum finally regained his scoring touch and dropped 31 points, while Jaylen Brown added 30, as the Celtics weathered a brave Mavericks rally to hack out a gutsy 106-99 Game 3 victory in Dallas.

They now take a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals series.

Tatum got going early, pouring 20 points in halftime alone while Brown exploded for 24 markers in the second half, as Boston nearly wasted a 21-point lead and survived on the road to move a win away from their 18th NBA title.

The Celtics got their biggest lead of the game at 91-70, early in the fourth after a Derrick White triple.

But the Mavericks responded with a 22-2 run, including this PJ Washington corner triple 7:01 seconds left, to cut the lead to a single possession game, 92-93.

Boston then countered with clutch baskets from a Brown tip-in and a Derrick White triple to pad the lead at 98-92 with 2:48 ticks left.

After a Derek Lively jam, Brown once again hit a crucial basket thanks to a tough, contested jumper as the shot clock expired for a 102-98 Celtics lead with 1:01 seconds left.

The Celtics rode a 35-19 third-quarter to take 15-point lead heading to the fourth, 85-70, with Brown scoring 15 markers in that frame alone.

Boston overcame an early 13-point deficit and stayed within striking distance in the opening courtesy of Tatum, who had his best scoring game of the NBA Finals yet.

Derrick White added 16 markers in a game where they were missing the services of injured big man Kristaps Porzingis with a left leg injury.

Meanwhile, Irving led the way for the Mavericks with his best offensive game of this NBA Finals with 35 points while Luka Doncic finished with 27 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

The Mavs almost pulled off a crazy comeback to avoid a 0-3 hole but Doncic picked up his sixth foul with 4:12 remaining in regulation and fell short.

Dallas started hot, racing to a 25-12 lead in the opening frame behind their dynamic backcourt, who combined for 18 points in that stretch.

In hopes of turning things around in this one-sided NBA Finals so far, the Mavericks are fighting not only the Celtics but history itself. No team has ever come back from being down 0-3 in a Finals series, let alone in a playoff series.

Game 4 of the NBA Finals will be held on Saturday June 15, at 8:30 a.m. It will be aired LIVE on One Sports, NBA TV Philippines, RPTV, and the Pilipinas Live app.