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NBA Finals Game 4: Dallas Mavericks get convincing win over Boston Celtics to extend series

By Homero De la Fuente, CNN

(CNN) — With their season on the line, the Dallas Mavericks dominated the Boston Celtics 122-84 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, extending the series to at least a fifth game.

With the series now at 3-1, the Celtics will attempt to secure an NBA-record 18th championship title in Monday’s Game 5 at TD Garden in Boston. According to the NBA, teams that lead 3-1 in the NBA Finals have gone on to win the series about 97% of the time (36-1).

Facing the prospect of being the 10th team to ever be swept in the NBA Finals, Dallas got off to a strong start, surging to a 13-point lead late in the first quarter and setting the tone for the night. The Mavericks built on their early advantage and doubled it, leading 61-35 at the end of the first half.

Boston’s loss snapped their NBA playoff-record 10-game win streak in a single postseason and marked their first road defeat, dropping them to 7-1 on the road.

At the heart of Dallas’ Game 4 turnaround was superstar Luka Dončić, who poured on 25 points in the opening two quarters. Dončić’s bounce-back performance came after drawing heavy criticism for his lack of effort on the defensive end and fouling out in Game 3.

“I don’t pay much attention. There’s always going to be criticism no matter what. I just stay focused and have my team win,” Dončić said after leading his team to the third-largest margin of victory in NBA Finals history.

Doncic became the youngest player with 25+ first-half points in a Finals game since teammate Kyrie Irving in 2017. The 25-year-old finished with 29 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Irving added 21 points and six assists in the victory.

“We know we had to get, we can’t lose no more. Like we always say we’re going to believe till the end,” Doncic told reporters.

In Game 3, Dallas had seen a 22-9 lead evaporate, with the Celtics storming back to within one point by the end of the first quarter.

On Friday, Dallas showcased a stouter defense, holding the Celtics to 35 points after two quarters – the fewest the team has scored in any half under head coach Joe Mazzulla.

The third quarter provided more of the same, as the Mavericks stretched their lead by as much as 38 points, leading Mazzulla to pull the Celtics starters for the remainder of the game. By the end of the quarter, the Mavericks held a 32-point lead, the second-largest ever in NBA Finals history.

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CNN’s Matias Grez contributed to this report.

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