Full recap: Luka fouls out, comeback falls short as Mavs fall into 3-0 hole in NBA Finals (2024)

The Dallas Mavericks will need to make NBA history to bring home another title.

The Mavs nearly came back from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit Thursday night at American Airlines Center in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, but a late Celtics push gave Boston the 106-99 win and 3-0 series lead. Here’s how it unfolded:


Watch: Luka Doncic fouls out of NBA Finals Game 3 between Mavericks-Celtics


Game stories

Five thoughts: Mavericks’ thrilling rally falls short, dropping Dallas to 0-3 vs. Celtics


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Mavs need to make history to win NBA Finals, but can draw inspiration from NHL, MLB teams

Kyrie Irving showed up for Game 3, but it might be too late to salvage a Mavericks title


Questionable calls? Silly fouls? Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in big NBA Finals hole

No Kristaps, no problem: Celtics keep Mavs from capitalizing on Porzingis’ Game 3 absence

Luka Doncic will learn from Mavericks’ Game 3 loss, just like Jerry West predicted


Game photos

Photos: Dallas Mavericks' rally falls short in NBA Finals Game 3 vs. Boston Celtics



Full recap: Luka fouls out, comeback falls short as Mavs fall into 3-0 hole in NBA Finals (1)

Game updates

Box score | Play-by-play

Final: Celtics 106, Mavericks 99

Celtics lead series, 3-0


- 0:22 left in the fourth: Kyrie Irving missed an off-balance 3 that could have cut the deficit to one, and the Celtics corraled the rebound to head to the free-throw line. Celtics 102, Mavericks 98.

- 2:32 left in the fourth: Kyrie Irving made two free throws to close the gap to four points. Celtics 98, Mavericks 94.

- 4:12 left in the fourth: Luka Doncic has fouled out of the game after an unsuccessful challenge from head coach Jason Kidd. Doncic was assessed four fouls in the final quarter.

- 5:25 left in the fourth: American Airlines Center is once again on its feet as the Mavs make a spirited run. Kyrie Irving was fouled while shooting from beyond the arc, sending him to the free-throw line. He hit all three of his attempts to cut the deficit to 3.


Dallas trails 93-90.

- 8:23 left in the fourth: The Mavericks have life. A 10-0 scoring run helps Dallas cut into the double-digit deficit with plenty of time left to work.

Josh Green buried a 3-pointer to cap the run, forcing a Joe Mazzulla timeout. Dallas trails 91-80.

- 11:06 left in the fourth: Boston just can’t miss right now. Jaylen Brown and Derrick White opened the quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers to further extend the Celtics’ advantage. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving each have three personal fouls.


Dallas needs to respond quickly if it wants to get back in this one. Boston leads 91-70.

End of third quarter

The Celtics have pulled away with a big third quarter behind 15 points from Jaylen Brown. Quite a time for the Mavericks to show Dirk Nowitzki, Emmitt Smith, Steve Nash and Patrick and Brittany Mahomes on the videoboard. There were some pretty glum faces, but Mahomes raised his hands in the air to try to lift the crowd’s spirits. Celtics 75, Mavericks 60.

- 1:44 left in the third: Luka Doncic is back in the game after the Celtics jumped out to a 13-point lead in his absence. Jaylen Brown is up to 13 points in the third.


- 3:50 left in the third: Luka Doncic has kept it close by scoring the last four points, but the Mavericks still trail 71-65.

- 7:05 left in the third: With a dunk and a 3-pointer, Jaylen Brown’s scored more points in five minutes — nine — than he did the entire first half.

- 8:44 left in the third: Jaylen Brown had only six points in the first half, came out on a mission to start the third quarter. He has four points and two assists. His buckets and threes from Jrue Holiday and Jayson Tatum have put the Celtics up 64-59.

End of second quarter

- After a blistering Dallas start, Game 3 has evened out. That’s reflected in the score at halftime.


Following a made free throw from P.J. Washington, the Mavericks took a 1-point lead into the break. Kyrie Irving was the standout in the second quarter, finding a rhythm from deep to keep Dallas in an ideal spot.

Jayson Tatum leads the Celtics with 20 points. Dallas leads 51-50 going into the second half.

- 2:29 left in the second: American Airlines Center once again has life, thanks to some flashy buckets from Kyrie Irving. The veteran guard has taken over as the clock winds down in the quarter, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers to bring his scoring total to 20 points.

Dallas holds a 46-45 lead.


Kyrie cookin 🧑‍🍳 🔥 #NBAFinals #MFFL #OneForDallaspic.twitter.com/SDH8J6Bjft

— SportsDay Mavs (@dmn_mavericks) June 13, 2024

- 7:59 left in the second quarter: Unlike the opening quarter, both teams struggled to score in the early minutes of the second. Boston scored first to take its first lead of the matchup. Kyrie Irving hit a layup to put Dallas back on top, but Derrick White responded quickly with a 3-pointer.

A coach’s challenge was initiated on an out-of-bounds call on Luka Doncic, sending the game to a replay review. Boston leads 35-33.

End of first quarter

- A group of well-known champs was in the building. With JJ Barea holding Dallas’ lone Larry O’Brien trophy (for now), the Mavs’ 2011 championship team was honored at AAC.


Dirk Nowitzki and the crew received a huge ovation from the crowd.

The 2011 title winning Mavericks team is IN THE BUILDING 🐴 🏆#MFFL #OneForDallas #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/LipJyZQE3g

— SportsDay Mavs (@dmn_mavericks) June 13, 2024

- The first quarter was full of momentum swings. It opened with a huge adrenaline rush from the Mavericks but ended with a quick scoring swing from Boston.

Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum are tied for the scoring lead with 13 points each. A 12-0 scoring run helped the Celtics cut things close. Tatum ended the quarter with a dunk to cut the Dallas advantage to 31-30.


- 3:23 left in the first: Dallas couldn’t ask for a better start. The Mavericks have connected on 61% of their shots in the early going. On the other hand, Boston hasn’t exactly found its footing.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are on fire, combining for 18 of the Mavs’ 25 points. Dallas holds a 25-19 lead.

— SportsDay Mavs (@dmn_mavericks) June 13, 2024

- 10:09 left in the first quarter: American Airlines Center is deafeningly loud as Mavs faithful make themselves heard in the early minutes. It’s a dream start for Dallas as it gets out to a 7-point lead and forces an early timeout from Joe Mazzulla.


Luka Doncic already has five points.

- Game 3 is underway at American Airlines Center.

Pregame updates

- 7:32 p.m.: Mavericks, Celtics pay tribute to the late Jerry West. Before the national anthem was played, the team played a video tribute on the American Airlines Center jumbotron.


The Mavs celebrate the legacy of Jerry West with a moment of silence before tonight’s game. pic.twitter.com/7pmnneekuW

— Mike Curtis (@MikeACurtis2) June 13, 2024

-6:10 p.m.: Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla has said recently that the closer you are to victory, the closer you are to defeat. He explained pregame that when you’re close to victory, you might be susceptible to a big counter or sucker punch. He recently showed his team some UFC highlights where something similar happened.

It’s safe to say he’s not taking his two-game advantage lightly.

”The closer you are to beating someone,” he said, “the closer you are to getting your ass kicked.”


-6:02 p.m.: Mazzulla said Kristaps Porzingis will be day to day, calling it “an unfortunate situation.” His status for Game 4 and beyond is still to be determined.

“Just day to day,” Mazzulla said. “The medical team and the staff decided it wasn’t best for him to go tonight.”

-5:51 p.m.: This week is the anniversary of the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA Championship. Current coach Jason Kidd was a key part of the team and reflected on the title, even though he needed to be reminded about the anniversary.

Jason Kidd is so tunnel-visioned on the task tonight that he says he didn’t realize today is the 13th anniversary of Dallas winning its only NBA title until Doris Burke mentioned it a few minutes ago during a pregame interview.

— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 12, 2024


“When you’re playing so well, you don’t want it to stop. ... As an older player, you want to keep going, because you just don’t know if you’re ever going to get back there.”

- 5:44 p.m.: Kristaps Porzingis will not suit up for Game 3. The 7-2 forward was initially deemed questionable for the matchup, but the Celtics announced that he’ll be out Wednesday night.

During his pregame press conference, Kidd mentioned how important Porzingis is to the Celtics but also said Boston has played well - recently, at that - without him. Boston beat the Pacers in four games.

Jason Kidd said he doesn’t think it will be a huge adjustment for the Celtics to play without Kristaps Porzingis tonight:

“They just came out of a series without KP.” pic.twitter.com/cyRebYwfor

— Noa Dalzell 🏀 (@NoaDalzellNBA) June 12, 2024



— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 12, 2024


— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 12, 2024


— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 12, 2024

Pregame reading

Welcome to The Finals

Current, former Mavericks react to the death of NBA legend Jerry West


Is KP playing? New team, familiar story for Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis before Game 3

Kyrie Irving knows: ‘It starts with me’ if Mavericks want shot at 0-2 comeback vs. Celtics

Dirk or Luka? JJ Barea has firm answer to question: ‘Who’s the best all-time Maverick?’

From Argyle Liberty to NBA journeyman, Luke Kornet has now found role with Boston Celtics


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Find more Mavericks coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

Full recap: Luka fouls out, comeback falls short as Mavs fall into 3-0 hole in NBA Finals (2024)
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