PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 05: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks look on during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 05, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

It’s official, the Boston Celtics will face the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals.

The Boston Celtics now know their opponent for the 2024 NBA Finals. Three days after they wrapped up the Eastern Conference Finals by sweeping the Indiana Pacers on Monday, the Dallas Mavericks took care of business winning Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals over the Minnesota Timberwolves to punch their ticket to the championship round.

Despite both Conference Finals series being done, there is still plenty of time to prepare for this series – and fans and media have plenty of time to hype up the matchup. Game 1 doesn’t tip off for another week.

2024 NBA Finals schedule (all times p.m. ET):

Game 1 in Boston: Thursday, June 6 at 8:30
Game 2 in Boston: Sunday, June 9 at 8:00
Game 3 in Dallas: Wednesday, June 12 at 8:30
Game 4 in Dallas: Friday, June 14 at 8:30
Game 5 in Boston: Monday, June 17 at 8:30*
Game 6 in Dallas: Thursday, June 20 at 8:30*
Game 7 in Boston: Sunday, June 23 at 8:00*

*If necessary

Coverage of all NBA Finals games can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub and the BetMGM Celtics Radio Network. Extended pregame coverage will begin an hour before each scheduled tipoff, with extended postgame coverage following the final whistle.

Both of these teams are looking to end title droughts that are over a decade long. The Celtics last won in 2008, and this will be their third try since at capturing that elusive Banner 18. Their two previous tries came in 2010 and 2022.

Dallas’ first and only title came in 2011. The Mavericks have only reached the NBA Finals one other time in their history, when they lost to the Miami Heat in 2006.

This season, the Celtics finished 64-18. That was good for the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the best record in the NBA. They beat the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the first two rounds before sweeping the Pacers.

DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 22: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics shoots against Grant Williams #3 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first half at American Airlines Center on January 22, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images) NBA Finals
Tim Heitman/Getty Images
The Celtics and Mavericks will meet again in the Eastern Conference Finals. (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

The Mavericks were 50-32 this season, finishing in fifth place in the West. Spurred by the acquisitions of Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington at the trade deadline they won 16 of 18 games down the stretch to avoid the play-in tournament.

Both of the Mavericks’ first two playoff series were much closer than this one. They beat the Los Angeles Clippers in six games in the first round, then went to six games with the Oklahoma City Thunder last round. In each of the first two rounds the Mavericks lost Game 1 and Game 4.

Now the Celtics and Mavericks are set to meet in the 2024 NBA Finals. Let’s take a look at the top storylines between these teams heading into the series…

  • Jayson Tatum vs. Luka Doncic

    Mar 1, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives the ball against Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) in the second half at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 1, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives the ball against Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) in the second half at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    This series will feature two of the top scorers in the NBA with Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic. Both have been All-NBA each of the last three seasons. 

    Although they play in different conferences and don’t go head-to-head often, the debate between these two players has been popular in the past, especially between the fan bases. Each is seen as a potential ‘face’ of the NBA, something that will certainly be discussed further throughout and after the series. 

    Doncic has generally posted better statistics than Tatum, highlighted by his first career scoring title this year when he averaged 33.9 points per game. Meanwhile, throughout their careers Tatum has looked like the more well-rounded player and had more team success. He’s also won four of the six head-to-head matchups over the last six years. 

    In a league where player-to-player debates and discussion dominate the discourse, this matchup should loom large over these Finals. Whichever player comes out on top will have a significant leg up in those debates in the future. 

  • Kyrie Irving returns to Boston

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MARCH 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks watches a play during the first quarter of a game against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden on March 01, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MARCH 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks watches a play during the first quarter of a game against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden on March 01, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    This storyline shouldn’t need much of an introduction. Since Irving was traded to the Celtics in 2017. After telling fans he planned to re-sign with the team he ended up leaving unceremoniously as a free agent just two years later.

    Since Irving’s departure he’s been among the most-hated athletes in Boston. The TD Garden crowd has saved an extra level of hostility for him, and he’s returned the favor. Most notably, during his last playoff series against the Celtics in 2021 (while with the Brooklyn Nets) he stomped on the Lucky the Leprechaun logo after Game 4.

    In games since that stomp, Irving has gone 0-10 in head-to-head games with the Celtics. Will that trend continue in the finals? Or will the animosity of the fan base fuel him to a revenge series?

  • Kristaps Porzingis against his former team

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 01: Luka Doncic #77 and Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Dallas Mavericks talk during the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on December 01, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 01: Luka Doncic #77 and Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Dallas Mavericks talk during the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on December 01, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

    We may not have gotten the Kristaps Porzingis revenge series against the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Celtics will play another one of his former teams in the Finals. Porzingis was traded by the Knicks to the Mavericks during the 2019 season in a multi-team deal. He spent two and a half years in Dallas, where he made the playoffs twice but was often limited by injuries.

    The real question is, will Porzingis himself get to face the Mavericks? He hasn’t played since suffering a calf injury in Game 4 of the first round. There were reports he could have returned during the Eastern Conference Finals, but now all eyes turn to his availability for the Finals.

    Having Porzingis could make a real difference for the Celtics. The Celtics are facing a dynamic scoring duo of Irving and Doncic, and will undoubtably have moments in the series where they need to simply keep pace in the offensive end. Porzingis’ ability to make plays at the rim and with his back to the basket while also being a threat to stretch the floor changes the entire dynamic of the Celtics’ offense, making him not just a factor himself but opening things up for other scorers.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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