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2024 NBA Finals: Dallas Needs to WIN Game 5 or Go Home as Boston Celtics Look to Wrap up 18th Championship | VIDEOs

Boston's Jalen Brown scores in NBA Finals game 4 (Stacy Revere-Getty Images via CNN Newsource)
Boston’s Jalen Brown scores in NBA Finals game 4 (Stacy Revere-Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

*(CNN) — The Boston Celtics remain one game away from a record 18th NBA championship, though the Dallas Mavericks will do everything to stop them from getting there.

After leaping to a controlling 3-0 series lead in the NBA Finals, the Celtics missed the chance to complete the sweep in Game 4 as the Mavericks finally got on the board in the best-of-seven series with a 122-84 victory to force a Game 5.

With the Finals now heading back to Boston, the Celtics will be looking to close things out in front of their home fans.

Dallas, meanwhile, face a seemingly impossible task – no team in NBA history has ever recovered from a 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series. A total of 156 teams have taken a 3-0 lead in the postseason, and those teams have gone on to win the series every time. History is clearly not on the Mavericks’ side, but they are not losing hope just yet.

“The most important thing is to show that we believe,” said superstar guard Luka Dončić, per the Mavericks. “I think we showed it in Game 4. If not, if we wouldn’t believe, we probably wouldn’t have won that game.”

How to watch Game 5

Game 5 tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Fans will be able to keep up with all the action on ABC in the United States.

Championship dreams

Across the entire season, the Celtics have looked every bit the championship favorites that many touted them to be.

Dominance has been a theme of Boston’s quest for banner No. 18. They finished with a league-best 64-18 regular season record – which clinched homecourt advantage throughout the postseason – and have rarely looked like being challenged in the playoffs, only dropping three games coming into Game 5.

Dallas Mavs game 4 of 2024 NBA Finals (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports-Reuters via CNN Newsource)
Dallas Mavs game 4 of 2024 NBA Finals (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports-Reuters via CNN Newsource)

After losing in the Finals to the Golden State Warriors in 2022 and being upset in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Miami Heat last year, the Celtics made a couple of big swings last offseason to construct a fearsome five-man unit.

Multiple-time All-Stars Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porziņģis (formerly a Maverick) were acquired via trade, with the latter’s recent return from injury proving to be a big boost for Boston.

The pair are accompanied by overqualified role-player Derrick White, but it is the Celtics’ star wing duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who are the true difference makers.

Both are contenders for Finals MVP but will be looking to bounce back from a sluggish Game 4 in Dallas in which they combined for only 25 points.

“We are at the precipice of completing what we set out to do at the beginning of the season,” Brown said ahead of Game 5, per the Celtics. “Just need to remind everybody that it’s just one possession at a time. We do it together and we fight like our lives depend on it, and I think we’ll be all right.”

Despite missing out on the sweep on Friday, the Celtics are looking forward to getting back in front of their home fans.

“I think [TD Garden is] going to be as loud as it’s ever been in my seven years of being a Celtic,” said Tatum.

‘You’ve got to give everything you have’

It has been a disappointing series for Dallas, with hope of a second championship in franchise history appearing to slip away.

After battling through a loaded Western Conference to become the second-ever No.5 seed to make the Finals, the Mavericks have often looked simply outgunned by the Celtics.

Luka Doncic in game 4 of 2024 NBA Finals (Julio Cortez-AP via CNN Newsource)
Luka Doncic in game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals (Julio Cortez-AP via CNN Newsource)

Dončić – who finished third in MVP voting – has been typically dominant on the offensive end but has faced criticism for not offering enough on the other side of the ball. Meanwhile, his co-star Kyrie Irving has struggled to find offensive consistency against the team that he left in acrimonious circumstances in 2019.

“When the fans are cheering, ‘Kyrie sucks,’ they feel like they have a psychological edge, and that’s fair,” said Irving, per the Mavs. “Of course, if I’m not making shots or turning the ball over, that makes it even more of a pressing issue that they can stay on me for.

“I think in order to silence even the self-doubt — let alone the crowd doubt — but the self-doubt when you make or miss shots, that’s just as important as making sure I’m leading the team the right way.”

The Mavericks have left themselves with a mountain to climb in the series but the morale-boosting victory in Game 4 was a positive start. The players are fully aware of the situation they’re in as they attempt to make history.

“I think obviously the talk is easy to talk about it, but then showing it is another thing,” said Dončić. “Every team plays the whole season to be here. We are the one to be here in Boston, obviously, so it’s a little bit different. But you’ve got to play basketball. You’ve got to give everything you have.”

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