3 underrated things to watch for in the 2024 NBA Finals

Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages
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The NBA Finals start on June 6th, with 82 regular-season games, countless practices, and 12 hard-fought playoff victories. Only two teams remain. The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks are each four wins away from notching their place in NBA history, hoisting the Larry Obrien Trophy, and becoming champions. Below are three things to watch for that will ultimately decide the series. 

3) How Boston defends Dallas in the pick and roll.

Jason Kidd has the Mavericks playing lose, carefree basketball, and it all stems from the pick and roll. Most of the time, it’s with Luka Donic, the point guard (one) and a center (five), Daniel Gafford, or Derrick Lively. What makes it so hard to guard is that they run it in the middle of the court, putting a lot of pressure on the backline defense to rotate. Donic is a mastermind who picks teams apart with lobs and skip passes.

The Oklahoma City Thunder did a great job of packing the paint and limiting lobs; however, this led to PJ Washington making 23 threes and having a monster series. Conversely, the Minnesota Timberwolves were able to get out to Washington, which opened up the lob threat. As a result, Lively was a perfect 16/16 from the field, mainly on dunks and layups.

It’ll be interesting to see how Celtics head coach Joe Mazulla approaches this attack. They normally switch everything, so there’s a chance Mazulla puts a smaller perimeter player on the five-man, anticipating the switch. It’s truly picking your poison when it comes to Donic, but the Celtics have a plethora of versatile defenders to execute any scheme.