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Celtics-Mavericks: 24 Key Stats Before the 2024 NBA Finals

Whether it’s finding three-point shooters or rolling big men, Luka Doncic’s passing has been top-notch this postseason.

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The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks will each be the best team the other has faced in these playoffs.

The Celtics have been dominant, losing just two games (the fewest for a finalist in the past seven years) and outscoring their opponents by 10.8 points per 100 possessions while playing the last ten games without Kristaps Porzingis.

But their opponents were also shorthanded, and none were as strong as the Mavs, who have gone 36-14 since early February. The Celtics also (and obviously) haven’t had to deal with a duo as difficult to defend as Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

Here are some numbers to know about the Celtics and Mavs, with the NBA Finals kicking off on Thursday (8:30 ET, ABC):


The base

1. The Celtics are the first team in 28 years for which we have play-by-play data to be, statistically, the best team in the regular season (plus-11.7 points per 100 possessions) and in each of the first three rounds of the competition. the playoffs: plus-17.0 in the first round, plus-8.5 in the conference semifinals and plus-6.3 in the conference finals.

2. The Celtics have outscored their opponents by 9.9 points per game from 3-point range, by 4.1 points from restricted area and by 6.1 points per game on free throws. Those are the best differences in the playoffs.

3. Luka Doncic has averaged 28.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.8 assists. If he were to maintain those numbers, he would be just the third different player to average at least 28, eight, and eight in at least fifteen playoff games, joining LeBron James (2015, 2018) and Nikola Jokic (2023).

4. The Mavs are the only team in the last three postseasons with multiple wins (they are 2-3) in games where they trailed by at least 17 points. The Celtics, meanwhile, are 10-0 in games they led by double digits.

5. In the 22 years since the first-round series changed to best-of-seven (44 teams total), the Celtics (6-2 at home, 6-0 on the road) and Mavs (5-3, 7-2) have just the fifth and sixth teams to reach the final with a better play-off record on the road than at home.

Celtics efficiency per round

Round On. UitRtg Rank AdjO Depress Rank AdjustmentD
First round MIA 117.7 3 +6.2 100.7 3 -12.6
Conf. semi-finals CLE 120.2 2 +8.0 111.7 2 -3.0
Conf. finals IND 121.0 1 +3.4 114.8 2 -5.8

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
AdjO = OffRtg – DefRtg of the opponent in the regular season
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
AdjD = DefRtg – OffRtg of the opponent in the regular season


Celtic’s foul

6. The Celtics rank first in field goal percentage in the paint (63.2%) in the playoffs, but rank last in the percentage of their shots that have gone into the paint (42%).

7. They’ve taken 47.4% of their shots from three-point range, the highest percentage in the playoffs by a healthy margin, ticking above their league-best percentage in the regular season (47.1%).

8. Jaylen Brown has shot 97-for-149 (65.1%) in the paint, the best mark among 16 players with at least 100 paint attempts and up from 60.7% in the regular season.

9. Payton Pritchard has shot 20-for-44 (45.5%) from 3-point range, the second-best mark among 72 players with at least 25 3-point attempts in the playoffs. Jrue holiday (15-for-31, 48.4%) and Dirk White (36-for-76, 47.4%) rank second and third catch and shoot 3-point percentage among 45 players with at least 25 catch-and-shoot attempts.

10. Jayson Tatum has shot just 20-for-60 (33.3%) on pull-up 2-pointers, the worst mark among the 21 players who have attempted at least 25.


Celtic’s defence

11. Boston’s opponents have attempted just 14.5 free throws per 100 shots from the field, which would be the lowest opponent free throw rate in NBA playoff history. The Celtics’ three opponents have had three of the lowest four free throws in any series in NBA history.

Lowest Free Throw Rate, Playoff Series, NBA History

Team Year Opponent FGA Free Trade Agreement FTA/FGA
Cleveland 2024 Boston 433 58 0.134
golden state 2023 LA Lakers 573 80 0.140
Miami 2024 Boston 406 60 0.148
Indiana 2024 Boston 361 56 0.155
Chicago 2022 Milwaukee 451 72 0.160

12. Only 18% of their opponents’ three-point attempts, the lowest opponent percentage in the playoffs, came from the corners. They also had the lowest opponent percentage (21%) in the regular season, as the Mavs went just 4-for-16 from the corners in their two head-to-head meetings.

13. They rank second in defensive rebounding percentage (77.0%) and have allowed just 8.3 second-chance points per game, the fewest for any playoff team in the last seven years.

Mavs efficiency per round

Round On. UitRtg Rank AdjO Depress Rank AdjustmentD
First round LAC 115.9 7 +1.3 109.5 6 -8.5
Conf. semi-finals OKC 112.0 4 +0.9 111.8 3 -6.5
Conf. finals MIN 118.3 2 +9.9 112.1 1 -2.5

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
AdjO = OffRtg – DefRtg of the opponent in the regular season
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
AdjD = DefRtg – OffRtg of the opponent in the regular season


Mav’s foul

14. In the conference semifinals, the Mavs scored 18.5 more points per 100 possessions than the Thunder allowed in the first round. And in the conference finals, they scored 11.7 more than the Wolves allowed in the conference semifinals. Those were the biggest jumps in each round.

15. The Mavs lead the playoffs with 4.6 three-pointers per game, with 34% of their three-point attempts (the second highest percentage) coming from the corners. PJWashington leads all individuals with 28 corner 3s (five fewer than Bruce Bowen’s record of 33 in 2007), while Derrick Jones Jr. is tied for second with 17.

16. They have saved 31% of available offensive rebounds, the fourth highest percentage in the playoffs and up from 25.7% (25th) in the regular season. That has been the biggest jump in offensive rebound percentage by a wide margin.

17. Luka Doncic (31.3%) and Kyrie Irving (23.5%) ranks fourth and fifteenth in usage rate among 52 players who have played at least 250 minutes in the playoffs. These numbers are down from 35.5% (second) and 27.4% in the regular season, being the largest and third largest drops among those 52 players.

18. Doncic leads the playoffs in both assists on 3-pointers (50) and assists on dunks (49). The 49 dunk assists are tied (with Draymond Green in 2019; 22 games played) in the 28 postseasons for which we have play-by-play data.

Most assists on dunks and playoffs since 1997

Player Year GP AST Per game
Luka Doncic 2024 17 49 2.9
Draymond Green 2019 22 49 2.2
Jrue holiday 2021 23 44 1.9
Trae Young 2021 16 42 2.6
Russell Westbrook 2016 18 40 2.2

The Mavs defense

19. Dallas opponents have shot just 51.1% in the paint, which is the third-lowest opponent mark in the playoffs. Opponents shot only 38 of 84 (45.2%) at the rim Daniel Gafford has been there to protect it. That’s the best rim protection score among 17 players who defended at least 50 shots at the rim. Dereck Vivid II has the third best score (35 out of 71, 49.3%).

20. Their arrangement with Lively in Gafford’s place has allowed just 98.5 points per 100 possessions, the best mark among the eight lineups that have played at least 100 minutes in these playoffs.

21. Opponents have shot 20-for-68 (29.4%). Maxi Kleber, with the expected field goal percentage on those shots being 49.0%. That’s the second-largest difference among 106 players who defended at least 50 shots in the playoffs.


Who’s on the floor?

22. Tatum leads the playoffs in cumulative plus-minus, with the Celtics having outscored their opponents by 141 points with him on the floor.

23. The Mavs have improved by 27.6 points per 100 possessions Irving on the floor (plus-8.2) than they have been off the floor with him (minus-19.4). That’s the largest on-off difference among 52 players who have played at least 250 minutes in the playoffs.

24. Jones has averaged 31.2 minutes in the playoffs, compared to 23.5 minutes in the regular season. That’s the second-largest jump (behind only Josh Hart) among 76 players who have played at least eight playoff games. Tim Hardaway Jr. (from 26.8 to 13.0) and Dante Exum (from 19.8 to 13.3) have seen the two biggest drops among those same 76 players.

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John Schuhmann is a senior statistical analyst for NBA.com. You can email him here, his archive can be found here and follow him on X.

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