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Mazzulla praises team effort in Celtics' game 2 NBA Finals win

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/boston/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Boston;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Boston</a>'s <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/5842/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Derrick White;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Derrick White</a>, <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/5765/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Jayson Tatum;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Jayson Tatum</a> and <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/5602/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Jaylen Brown;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Jaylen Brown</a> huddle during the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/boston/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Celtics;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Celtics</a>' win over <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/dallas/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Dallas;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Dallas</a> in game two of the NBA Finals (Adam Glanzman)

Boston's 105-98 victory over Dallas in game two of the NBA Finals was the kind of total team effort that Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla hopes will silence debate over who is the team's best player.

"I'm really tired of hearing about one guy or this guy or that guy and everybody trying to make it out to be anything other than Celtic basketball," an impassioned Mazzulla said after the Celtics took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship series.

"Everybody that stepped on that court today made winning plays on both ends of the floor."

Mavs coach Jason Kidd had raised eyebrows when he told reporters on Saturday that Jaylen Brown is Boston's "best", in comments interpreted as an attempt to stoke tension in the Celtics camp, particularly between Brown and five-time All-Star Jayson Tatum.

Both brushed off the comments and both came up big in Boston's second straight home win -- but there was plenty of kudos to go around.

Jrue Holiday, an NBA champion with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, led Boston's scoring with 26 points. Kristaps Porzingis came off the bench and with 12 points singlehandedly out-scored the Mavs reserves who combined for nine.

Payton Pritchard drilled a three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to send the Celtics into the final quarter on a high and Derrick White chased down P.J. Washington for a crucial block in the final minute.

"We've got a lot of weapons on our team, so we've just got to trust what we've been doing all season long, trust our game plan," Brown said, adding that trust is what carried the Celtics through a tough-shooting first half.

"We didn't panic. We kept guarding, we stayed in the game and we kept trusting it and we made enough tonight to win the game," he said.

As much as the Celtics wanted to spread the glory, Dallas star Kyrie Irving said the Mavericks must share the blame, even though Slovenian star Luka Doncic was quick to point to his own turnovers and missed free-throws as key to the defeat.

"He's in the right for wanting to single himself out," Irving said of his high-profile teammate, who nevertheless posted a 32-point triple-double.

"But this is a team game. He's not alone and we're going to tell him that.

"He's fresh off the court. He's spilling into his emotions, feels like he could play better, just like me.

"It's on all of us. I think the message right now is just get our bearings together."

bb/pst