Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving lead Mavs against Celtics for NBA crown

NBA scoring champion Luka Doncic (25) and sharpshooter Kyrie Irving (32) spearhead the upstart Dallas Mavericks against the favoured Boston Celtics when the NBA Finals begin on Thursday.
Ex-Celtics standout Irving is bracing for a hostile road reception in Boston, five years after quitting the franchise for Brooklyn, leaving Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to turn the Celtics into the league’s top club with an NBA-high 64 wins this season.LeBron James

“They’re the best team in the NBA,” Doncic said. “They have by far the best record, some incredible weapons on offense and defense so we’re going to have to play really hard and amazing basketball to beat them.”

Tatum lifted the Celtics into the 2022 final, where they lost to Golden State but planted seeds that could bring a trophy starting with the best-of-seven opener in Boston.

“There’s a lot myself, and we, can learn from the experience of being in the finals and this go-around is a lot different,” Tatum said. “I’m really just looking at it as a second chance and trying to simplify things as much as we can.”

The Celtics seek an unprecedented 18th all-time NBA crown, one more than the record they share with the Los Angeles Lakers. Boston’s most recent title came in 2008.

The Mavericks won their only NBA title in 2011 after reaching the 2006 final, losing to Miami.

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