Celtics vs. Mavericks Game Three NBA Finals Prediction: Will Dallas Bounce Back?

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published June 12, 2024
6 min read

The Dallas Mavericks find themselves in an 0-2 hole against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals as they transition back to the Lone Star State for their first home game of the series.

The Celtics dominated the Mavericks in each of the first two games. Joe Mazzulla crafted a game plan that took away the strengths of Dallas’ offense, and their relentlessness in driving to the basket created open looks at the rim or for three-point shooters on kick-outs.

Most of Dallas’ players have not yet shown up to the series aside from Luka Doncic, who just posted 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in Game Two. Kyrie Irving was the biggest disappointment and averaged just 14 points on 35.1 percent shooting during the first two games of the series.

Here, we will analyze the betting odds and share our favorite pick for the Celtics vs. Mavericks NBA Finals Game Three matchup on Wednesday.

Celtics vs. Mavericks 2024 06 12 Game 3 NBA Finals Prediction Luka Doncic & Jayson Tatum

Celtics vs. Mavericks Game Three Betting Odds for Thursday, June 12

Boston is 49-43-6 (53.3 percent) against the spread and 1-2 (33.3 percent) ATS as a road underdog. They covered in Game One before pushing in Game Two and are 8-7-1 ATS in the postseason.

Dallas is 59-41-1 (59 percent) ATS and 9-9- (50 percent) ATS as a home favorite. They’re 11-7-1 ATS in the playoffs and 0-3-1 ATS against the Celtics across all regular and postseason meetings.

TeamsSpreadMoneylineTotal
Boston Celtics+2.5 (-110)+115Over 212.5 (-115)
Dallas Mavericks-2.5 (-110)-140Under 212.5 (-105)

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Celtics vs. Mavericks Game Three Prediction

Boston Celtics Preview

The first two games of the Finals were arguably Boston’s best performances of the entire season. They suffocated the Dallas offense in a way that no other team had, particularly in the playoffs, and continued to have an elite offense despite Jayson Tatum struggling to shoot the ball in a historic way.

The key to Boston’s defensive approach was taking away corner threes (statistically the most efficient shot in basketball that isn’t a dunk) and alley-oops. They did this by staying attached to their man and rarely showing help, even if it meant conceding a lay-up to Luka or another Dallas player driving downhill.

On the other end, Boston did a tremendous job of keeping Doncic involved in actions by forcing switches onto him and then attacking the basket. What made this so special was they often put Jrue Holiday or Derrick White in the strong side dunker spot while their big man was spaced to the weak corner or slot, meaning Irving was the help defender at the rim, and the driving player had an easy layup. 

In the event Dallas got into rotation and scrambled to show help at the rim, Boston was usually able to find an open shooter. They had an extremely inefficient night shooting the ball in Game Two, but that isn’t a fair reflection of the quality of shots they generated.

Despite all of the positives and how dominant they looked to start the series, the Celtics could face an uphill battle in Game Three. 

Kristaps Porzingis is likely to be ruled out with a lower-leg injury, and Tatum averaged 17 points on 31.6 percent shooting from the field during the first two games. Although he also averaged 10 rebounds and 8.5 assists, his career Finals field goal percentage is the lowest in NBA history among qualified players, and he needs to be better.

Bet on Boston Celtics at BetMGM 

Dallas Mavericks Preview

As we mentioned, it doesn’t seem as if many of the Mavericks are aware the Finals already started. Luka is the only player to hold up his end of the bargain on offense, averaging 31 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 6.0 assists, while P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford have both been solid in spurts. 

Aside from that, the Mavs have been pretty awful on offense. Players not named Luka are responsible for three total threes, one of which was Derrick Jones Jr. on his team’s first offensive possession of the series.

One of the adjustments made by Jason Kidd and company in Game Two was to position Washington and Jones Jr. closer to the slot on drives since Boston was insistent on taking away the corners. They were able to get up eight combined three-point attempts in Game Two, but they only made one since that isn’t where they’re most comfortable shooting the ball.

The bench production, led by rookie Dereck Lively II, also hasn’t been there, as he, Maxi Kleber, and Josh Green have all struggled. Another change could be coming if Tim Hardaway Jr. is reinserted into the rotation to help his team find the offense they are looking for.

At the end of the day, though, this will only become a competitive series if Irving can score at least 25 points per game. Dallas’ offense is built on their guards beating their one-on-one defenders and forcing opposing defenses to show help, which has not yet happened.

Bet on Dallas Mavericks at BetMGM 

Celtics vs. Mavericks Game Three Betting Pick

This game will decide if Dallas still has a chance at the Larry O’Brien trophy or not. They were given a lifeline in the form of Porzingis’ injury and should benefit from being back at home after they failed to win one of the first two games in the series for the first time in these playoffs.

Luka has to be better on defense but can only do that if he gets the necessary offensive support from his teammates. That symbiotic relationship will make the Mavs better on both ends, but again, is dependent upon them knocking down their shots.

While there’s no doubt that the Celtics have been the better team, we believe the Mavericks will break out of their slump and claw their way back with a win in Game Three. The line is small enough to justify taking them on the spread.

How to Watch Celtics vs. Mavericks Game Three

  • When: Wednesday, June 12 @ 7:30/8:30 p.m. CT/ET

  • Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

  • TV: ABC

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Grant Mitchell

Sports Betting Analyst & On-Air Host

Expertise:
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Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field. In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor in Sports Media and Analytics
Favourite Sportsbook: Caesars Sportsbook
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Experience:
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