The NBA title reaches out to Boston

The NBA title reaches out to Boston
The NBA title reaches out to Boston

First relentless, then feverish, the Boston Celtics contained the return of the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday on their floor (106-99) to lead 3-0 in the NBA final. They are now very close to an 18th title.

Jerry West wouldn’t have liked to see that. The hero of the Los Angeles Lakers, as a player then manager, with the silhouette engraved in the NBA logo, died Wednesday, the day when his historic rivals the Celtics approached an 18th NBA title, one more potentially than his Lakers ( 17), with a title opportunity on Friday in Dallas during Game 4 of a one-sided series. Never has an NBA franchise reversed a playoff series after being down 3-0.

Jerry West, to whom the NBA paid tribute before the game in Dallas, had lost six times in the final against Boston in the 1960s, forever keeping a certain acidity against the Massachusetts franchise. He would have understood well what the Mavericks are going through, trailing 3-0 and condemned to the feat against something stronger than them.

With a 21-point lead 11 minutes from the whistle, Boston seemed to have extinguished the Texan hopes on Wednesday, before Dallas managed an improbable 20-2 in 5 minutes to get back to 3 points, then to 1 point a little later.

The momentum of the Mavericks was halted by the final exit 4 minutes 12 from the end of their Slovenian magician Luka Doncic, for six personal fouls, including two in 20 seconds.

“We couldn’t play physical. I don’t know, I don’t want to talk too much. Six fouls in the NBA Finals like that (he simply extends his arm)frankly…,” breathed Doncic, who spent his game bitching at the referees.

The Slovenian, with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, once again formed a formidable duo with Kyrie Irving (35 points) to lead at halftime (51-50), then keep their team in the game.

Dallas ended up being worn down by the ferocious defense of the Celtics, despite being deprived of Latvian pivot Kristaps Porzingis, injured in the left leg (lesion at the level of the medial patellar retinaculum leading to dislocation of the posterior tibial tendon) during game 2 and declared unfit just before the meeting.

Criticized for his lack of individual efficiency at the start of the series, Jayson Tatum responded with 31 points and a newfound skill (11 out of 26, including 4 out of 13 from distance), before disappearing during the Mavericks’ run, until ‘to a difficult and saving dunk 2’14” from time.

NBA. Finale, act III. Wednesday match: Dallas – Boston 99-106 (0-3 in the series).

The series is played as a best of seven matches. Next act: Saturday in Dallas (2:30 a.m. Swiss time).

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