NBA Finals: 3 areas the Celtics must dominate to beat the Mavericks

Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
1 of 3

The NBA Finals are set, and while some may be surprised that the Dallas Mavericks made the cut, there were many pundits who felt the Boston Celtics were destined for a Finals berth. If Beantown has designs on taking home the hardware, there are three matchups they must dominate to beat the Mavs.

3) Dominate the paint.

It borders on cliche, but postseason contests can sometimes be decided by the “battle in the trenches.” Even in an era defined by flashy three-pointers and highlight reel fast breaks, how teams play in the paint can make a huge difference.

According to, the Celtics rank first in field goal percentage in the paint in the playoffs, but last in the percentage of their shots that have come in the paint. Offensively, Boston will have to generate looks in front of the basket in order to create kickouts and three-point opportunities.

They have taken 47.4% of their shots from 3-point range, the highest rate in the playoffs. This is a strength that the Mavericks will be aware of and try to combat, but Boston could keep the Mavericks off-kilter by moving the ball toward the paint and diversifying their initial plan. Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis will be key in this regard.

Defensively, the C’s will have to watch out for a Mavs team that has retained 31% of available offensive rebounds. The Mavericks are a good three-point shooting team with the likes of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, but their propensity to grab offensive boards could result in easy paint chances.