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Jrue Holiday leads Boston Celtics past Dallas Mavericks to take 2-0 lead in NBA Finals

BOSTON -- The Celtics are just too much for the Mavericks in the NBA Finals, at least through the first two games. Boston had an off shooting night in Game 2 on Sunday, but still managed to take a 2-0 series lead over Dallas thanks to a big night from Jrue Holiday.

The veteran point guard led the charge for the Celtics with 26 points in a 105-98 victory at TD Garden. Holiday punished the Mavericks with drives and cuts to the basket, hitting all nine of his shots around or under the hoop. Holiday was 11-for-14 overall and also pulled down 11 rebounds for Boston.

The Celtics have now won nine straight this postseason, and are two wins away from the organization's 18th NBA title.

"Everybody that stepped on that court today made winning plays on both ends of the floor," Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said after the win.

And they all did it in different ways.

Jayson Tatum's shot was off again, with the Celtics forward going just 6-for-22 from the field for 18 points. But he was on point as a distributor, passing out of the numerous double teams he saw and ended up with a dozen assists. The Celtics as a team had 29 helpers on 38 made buckets in Game 2.

Jaylen Brown followed up his big Game 1 with 21 points and seven assists, while Derrick White chipped in with 18 points and made some big shots and a game-saving block late in the game. Kristaps Porzingis had 12 points and four rebounds off the Boston bench, but appeared to suffer another leg injury in the fourth quarter. 

The Boston big man left the game with under five minutes to play and did not return after appearing to tweak his leg a few plays earlier. He said that he was good after the game and wasn't concerned with the injury, but it will be something to monitor over the next two days leading up to Game 3 in Dallas Wednesday night.

Luka Doncic led the way for the Mavericks and logged a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. But he had just three points in the fourth quarter, going 1-for-6 from the floor in the final frame, and he also turned the ball over eight times in Game 2. Kyrie Irving scored 16 for Dallas, but had just six points in the second half on 2-for-8 shooting.

Boston had a tough time shooting from downtown in Game 2, going just 10-for-29 from three-point range. The Celtics didn't hit their first three until five seconds left in the first quarter, when Al Horford connected on a corner three. Despite shooting 1-for-9 from deep and Doncic and Irving combining for 21 points for Dallas, Boston trailed by just three points at the end of the first quarter.

Holiday scored 11 points in the second quarter and had 17 points in the first half to help the Celtics build a three-point edge at the break.

Tatum struggled with his shot, going 2-for-10 in the first half, but he had success driving to the hoop. He got a tough layup to go midway through the third to put Boston on top, 67-63.

Later in the third, Tatum found himself doubled by the Mavs again as he went to the hoop, but somehow managed to find a cutting Holiday for a beautiful layup, giving Boston a 75-63 lead. It was a great example of Tatum taking what the Mavs were giving him -- and Holiday taking advantage of the opportunity.

It was Tatum's 10th assist of the night, giving him his 13th double-double of the playoffs. He nearly had a triple-double on Sunday, finishing with nine rebounds.

The Mavericks cut Boston's lead to six near the end of the third, but Payton Pritchard banked in a heave just over mid-court before the buzzer to push that edge to nine points heading into the final 12 minutes of the game.

Tatum hit his first three of the night early in the fourth, and White followed with a deep triple a few possessions later to push the Celtics' lead to 10 with under eight minutes to play. The Mavericks had it down to eight with just over four minutes to play, but Holiday hit a three off a Doncic turnover, and then fed White for another Boston three off an offensive rebound to give the Celtics a 103-89 lead with 3:34 to play.

Dallas made one more run thought. A three-point play by Doncic made it a 103-98 game with 1:15 left as the Mavs rattled off nine straight points. It was nearly 11 straight points and a three-point game, but White charged down the floor after Tatum was blocked and sent back P.J. Washington's dunk attempt (Brown was there as well) to save a tense final minute for the Celtics. Brown answered on the other end to push Boston's lead to seven and seal the game for the Celtics.

"That was sick," Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla said of White's block after the win.

The series will now shift to Dallas for Game 3 on Wednesday night. The Celtics are a perfect 6-0 on the road this postseason.

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