Celtics survive Mavericks’ valiant comeback attempt, take commanding 3-0 NBA Finals lead

The Boston Celtics survived a 22-2 Dallas Mavericks run in the fourth quarter to win Game 3 of the NBA Finals, 106-99, and take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Jaylen Brown hit a jumper with about one minute left in the game and the Celtics got a few key defensive stops on Kyrie Irving to crush Dallas’ hopes of a magnificent comeback to get back into the series.

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Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) shoots against Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball finals, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Dallas.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Brown only had six points in the first half and finished the game with 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Jayson Tatum led Boston with 31 points, six rebounds and five assists. He was 11-for-26 from the field and 4-for-13 from beyond the arc.

The Mavericks were down 21 early in the fourth quarter and climbed back to within two points. A P.J. Washington offensive foul on a screen in the backcourt and a clutch Derrick White 3-pointer helped stymie the momentum Dallas had.

Jayson Tatum kisses fans goodbye

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after making a shot in the third quarter against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 12, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Luka Doncic fouled out for the first time in the playoffs in his career. He was out for about the last four minutes and finished with 27 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Irving had a tremendous effort in the loss. He scored 35 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out two assists. He was 13-of-28 and played 45 minutes.

Luka Doncic yells

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic reacts after a play against the Boston Celtics during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball finals, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Dallas.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Kyrie Irving drives to basket

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks attempts a layup while being guarded by Derrick White #9 of the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter in Game Three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 12, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. (Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Dallas was 9-of-25 from the 3-point line compared to Boston’s 17-of-46.

Boston played without Kristaps Porzingis, who was a gametime decision after suffering a rare foot injury in Game 2. It was determined hours before the game he wasn’t going to give it a go.

The Celtics are now one win away from adding another NBA championship to the trophy case. They have 17 NBA championships.

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Game 4 is set for Friday night in Dallas.

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