3 possible changes before Game 2 of the NBA Finals

Dallas had just nine assists in Game 1, its fewest in a game in two years.

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1. More ball movement and assist opportunities

With two of the best isolation players in the game, the Mavericks have never ranked higher in passes per game – 259.4 (29Th 30 in the regular season and 251.1 (14Th 16) entering the NBA Finals.

However, in Game 1, the Mavs caught just 203 passes, and Kyrie Irving and coach Jason Kidd preached to move the ball more in Game 2.

  • Kyrie: “It’s uncharacteristic of us to only have nine assists. The ball needs to move a little more.
  • Child: „We’ve got to move the ball. The ball just sticks around a lot. We’ll do better in Game 2.

The Mavs’ nine assists — his fewest in two years (May 10, 2022) — were off missed shots. Dallas had just 25 possible assists (passes that lead to an assist on a shot), nearly 15 less than their season average (39.8, tied with Boston at 7).Th in the league).

Part of it was Boston’s defense not blitzing pick-and-rolls to get the ball out of Luka Doncic and Irving’s hands, and setting up a 4-on-3 on the back end to create open looks for shooters.

The Celtics mixed up their defense but relied heavily on switching, making 31 on-ball switches in Game 1 with mixed results. Danzig and Irving tried to score whenever they paired up with Al Horford or Kristaps Porzingis.

  • Doncic & Irving vs Horford: 6 points, 3-of-13 (23.1%) FG, 0-of-4 3P, 1 assist, 2 blocks
  • Doncic & Irving vs. Porzingis: 15 points, 6-of-10 (60%) FG, 3-of-5 (60%) 3P, 0 assists, 1 turnover
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Instead of constantly scoring on these switches, Dancic and Irving can look for drive opportunities, beat the big on the dribble, force assists into the paint and bring more kickouts to open shots — and more assist opportunities.

  • In game 1, The Mavs shot 29 times on their drives compared to 14 passes
  • In the regular season, The Mavs average 22.4 shots off drives and 17.6 passes

2. Take advantage of the open look

While the Mavericks need to increase their ball movement and assist chances, they need to take advantage of them by knocking down open shots — something they struggled with on Thursday.

3-point shooting in open/wide-open looks (closest defender 4+ feet away)

  • Boston: 14-for-35 (40) in Game 1, 13.2-for-33.8 (39.1) entering the Finals
  • Dallas: 6-for-24 (25%) in Game 1, 10.8-for-29.3 (36.9%) entering the finals

While Boston matched its open shooting in Game 1 compared to its first three rounds, the Mavs were five short in both productions and attempts and their shooting percentage dropped nearly 12%.

Sometimes it’s as simple as the team taking the open shots winning.

  • Child: „I thought he had a great look … They didn’t go down for Kai or most of the team and we’ll get those same shots in Game 2 and we can be better.”
  • Irving: „I haven’t hit the best games in this playoff run, but we’ve been able to get stops, timely stops and pick each other up on the offensive end.”

Irving missed all five of his 3-point attempts in Game 1, including three wide-open looks — the closest defender was 6+ feet away.

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3. Should Boston start Porzingis?

The Celtics couldn’t have asked for a better return game after 38 days without Kristaps Porzingis in Game 1.

It started before the tip. Porzingis took the court to warm up pregame and received loud cheers from the Boston faithful. The game began with Porzingis on the bench until his name was called at 7:17 of the opening quarter.

Another big ovation was followed by a great performance by Porzingis – 11 points, rebounds and two blocks on 4-of-5 shooting. And a 37-20 Celtics lead was frenzy with the crowd.

If Mazzulla decides to team up with Al Horford in his current rotation, the same 'welcome back’ energy won’t be the same for Game 2. But it is understandable not to be confused with the current order of operation.

One argument for Porzingis starting is Boston’s most common starting five all season — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, Derrick White and Porzingis. That team has an 18.5 net rating (point differential per 100 possessions), tops among all playoff lineups that have shared the court for 60+ minutes.

Fast starts are important in the postseason for both teams.

  • Dallas: 8-1 when they won 1St quarter; When 4-5 are tied or 1 is lostSt Leg
  • Boston: 11-0 when winning 1St quarter; When tied 2-2 or lose 1St Leg

Boston won by 1St Won Game 1 by 17 points (37-20) and the final three quarters by a total of one point (70-69).

Can Porzingis be the instant offense he was in Game 1? Or should the Celtics consider adding him back to the starting lineup that helped them win 64 games this season?

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