Dallas Mavericks and Luka Dončić Win West, to Play Boston Celtics in NBA Finals

If there was any doubt about the superiority of the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference after their loss at home in Game 4 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, it was put to rest with an emphatic Game 5 win on the road in the Western Conference Finals.

The final score was 124-103, and it wasn’t nearly that close. Dallas led 35-19 after the first quarter, and Luka Dončić, who was named Western Conference Finals MVP, outscored the Timberwolves in the first quarter by himself, 20-19. Dončić finished the game with 36 points and 10 rebounds, and he easily won the trash-talk war in the second half, taunting hecklers from the crowd, much to the delight of courtside fan Snoop Dogg.

It was a complete performance, with the Mavs up by 29 points at halftime, and the final two quarters were a celebration of Dallas’s return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2011.

“It’s not easy. It’s a very hard road,” said Dončić. “Very hard. But we’re here. Obviously, we’re not done. But today, we deserve this.”

Dončić was the star. He was the engine that got the Mavericks rolling. But he got a nice assist from Kyrie Irving, who also finished the game with 36 points – 34 of them coming after Dončić’s huge first quarter.

Over the five games, Dončić averaged 32.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 8.2 assists, and twice he had triple-doubles. With nine career playoff triple-doubles, Dončić is now tied with Wilt Chamberlain for ninth all-time.

Irving finished the series averaging 27 points per game, which is four points a game more than his career playoff average.

Best NBA Duo

Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray with the Denver Nuggets, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker with the Phoenix Suns, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis all entered the NBA Playoffs with a claim on being the best teammates in the league.

As we head into the NBA Finals, two other duos have set themselves apart from the rest – Dončić and Irving, and the Boston Celtics pair of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

The odds for which player will emerge as the NBA Finals MVP favor Tatum. The 26-year-old five-time All-Star is at the top of the odds board, paying -115. Dončić, a 25-year-old five-time All-Star, is next at +205. Brown was named the Eastern Conference Finals MVP, and he is +650 to be the NBA Finals MVP. He’s just 27. The oldest of the quartet is Irving at 32. He was an NBA champion in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and you can get +2200 on an Irving Finals MVP.

NBA Finals Odds

The MVP odds are in favor of Tatum and Brown, largely because the odds favor a Celtics NBA title. They are -215 to win the NBA championship, with the Mavericks at +175.

It is worth noting that the Mavericks were also the underdog in the Western Conference Finals against the Timberwolves, and in their second-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Back when the playoffs began, the Mavs were +980 to win the Western Conference and +2350 to win the NBA championship.

Betting on the exact outcome of these Finals pays out like this:

Celtics 4-0 (+600)

Celtics 4-1 (+340)

Celtics 4-2 (+475)

Celtics 4-3 (+350)

Mavericks 4-0 (+1900)

Mavericks 4-1 (+1200)

Mavericks 4-2 (+550)

Mavericks 4-3 (+800)

The NBA Finals tip off on Thursday, June 6, at TD Garden in Boston. If the series goes the distance, Game 7 will be played in Boston on June 23.

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