Fans React to Celtics' Dominant First Half in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Jun 6, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) dunks the ball against Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (left) and forward Maxi Kleber (right) during the second quarter of game one of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 6, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) dunks the ball against Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (left) and forward Maxi Kleber (right) during the second quarter of game one of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The narratives entering Game 1 of the NBA Finals surrounded the Boston Celtics' lack of quality opponents faced in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Many of those statements were true. The Celtics ran through injury-plagued versions of the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers en route to their second NBA Finals appearance in three years.

But in the first half of Game 1 on Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks, the Celtics reminded NBA fans that they were a league-best 64-18 in the regular season, and that they were rightfully the Finals favorites.

Boston surged out to a 37–20 first quarter lead—the largest first-quarter lead in a Game 1 in NBA Finals history—and took a 63–42 lead into halftime. The Celtics shot 54.5% from the floor and hit 11 first half threes, while celebrating the triumphant return of Kristaps Porzingis, who poured in a team-high 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting in 13 minutes.

The Mavericks lacked defensive intensity from the jump, and couldn't get out of their own way offensively against a stout Celtics defense. The Mavericks shot 43.9% from the floor in the first half, but went just 3-for-13 from three (23.1%). Luka Doncic led the way with 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting, but no other Mavericks player scored in double-digits in the first half.

Here are some of the best reactions from social media to Boston's torrid start:


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Mike McDaniel

MIKE MCDANIEL

Mike McDaniel is a writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated, where he has worked since January 2022. His work has been featured at InsideTheACC.com, SB Nation, FanSided, and more. Mike hosts the Hokie Hangover Podcast, covering Virginia Tech athletics, as well as Basketball Conference: The ACC Football Podcast. Outside of his professional life, he is a husband, father, and an avid golfer.