Celtics Stand Strong: Overcoming Jason Kidd's Mind Games
Celtics Stand Strong: Overco...
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Celtics Stand Strong: Overcoming Jason Kidd's Mind Games

9 June 2024
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2 min.
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Celtics Stand Strong: Overcoming Jason Kidd's Mind Games

Kidd's Subtle Jab

Jason Kidd, a 10-time NBA All-Star, remains sharp off the court. During a media session on Saturday, he was asked about Jaylen Brown’s performance.

This comment stirred the narrative around the dynamic between Brown and Jayson Tatum, two constantly compared All-NBA wings. Kidd's remark seemed aimed more at creating tension within the Boston locker room than praising Brown.

Boston's dominant 107–89 victory over the Mavericks in Game 1 highlighted Dallas's struggles. Luka Doncic scored 30 points on 26 shots, and the Celtics' defense limited him to one assist. The Mavericks' usual offensive strategies failed against Kristaps Porzingis's rim protection.

Kyrie Irving also needs to improve after scoring just 12 points on 31.6% shooting. "I thought it would be louder," he said of the Boston crowd. Dallas believes Irving will convert more open looks in Game 2.

"It was our first time together on this Finals stage," said Irving. "Experience is the best teacher when you don’t know what to expect."

Dallas needs more from its role players. Rookie Dereck Lively II managed one shot in 18 minutes, Derrick Jones Jr. went 2-for-9, and Josh Green finished 1-for-4. The Mavericks' 11 turnovers led to 18 Celtics points.

"We've got to take care of the ball," Kidd emphasized. "We've got to make it easier for Ky and Luka, placing them in different spots so they can perform at a high level. We didn’t do that in Game 1."

Kidd’s comment about Brown might have been a ploy to disrupt, but inside Boston’s locker room, it only reinforced their unity. Despite their differences, Brown and Tatum share the same goal. Six conference finals, two NBA Finals, and now, they aim to win it all.

"This is a team sport," Tatum said. "We understand that. We wouldn’t be here without JB, and we can say that for many guys. People try to drive a wedge between us, but it’s not our first rodeo."

Dallas hopes to provoke Tatum into overcompensating in Game 2, but Tatum insists he won’t fall into that trap. If the Mavericks focus their defense on him, he’ll keep distributing the ball. Tatum registered five assists in Game 1 and could have had more if shots had fallen.

Despite years of success, questions about Tatum and Brown's relationship persist. Only winning will silence the doubts. On Sunday, Boston aims to take another step closer to that goal.

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