Michigan State's Xavier Tillman Sr.'s Presence Was Felt in Game 3 of NBA Finals

Former Michigan State men's basketball forward Xavier Tillman Sr. did not disappoint in his first NBA Finals appearance.
Jun 12, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots against Boston Celtics forward Xavier Tillman (26) during the second quarter in game three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots against Boston Celtics forward Xavier Tillman (26) during the second quarter in game three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan State men's basketball star and current Boston Celtics forward Xavier Tillman Sr. finally got to see the court in this year's NBA Finals when he played 11 minutes in Game 3 of the 2024 NBA Finals on Wednesday.

Tillman had not played in the previous two games but was called upon to make his mark in the Celtics' first road game of the series. The fourth-year NBA forward made the most of his time on the floor, displaying the strong defense he was known for in his time at Michigan State by locking down NBA All-Star Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

Tillman even scored a 3-pointer in the contest, officially inserting himself in the scoring column in this year's Finals.

With Boston's 106-99 victory over Dallas in Game 3, the Celtics have taken a commanding 3-0 lead in the series and are just a single win away from bringing home the title.

With this almost inevitable title -- no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs -- Tillman will become the first Spartan to win an NBA championship since Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors, who last won the title in 2022. Green has won four championships with Golden State.

Game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals will be played on Friday at 8:30 p.m. It will once again take place in Dallas.

The Celtics have not won the NBA Finals since 2008. Should they clinch this year's championship, they will become the sole possessors of the most titles in NBA history with 18. Boston is currently tied with its arch-rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, with 17.

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Aidan Champion

AIDAN CHAMPION