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Scalabrine shares expectations for Celtics-Mavs Finals matchup

Scalabrine shares expectations for Celtics-Mavs Finals matchup originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Dallas Mavericks will undoubtedly be the Boston Celtics' toughest test in this year's quest for Banner 18.

After cruising through the first three playoff rounds against undermanned Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Indiana Pacers teams, the C's will take on one of the NBA's best offensive duos in Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Of course, Boston boasts a superstar duo of its own in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, setting the state for what should be a thrilling NBA Finals matchup.

With Game 1 at TD Garden set for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET, 2008 NBA champion-turned-analyst Brian Scalabrine joined Chris Forsberg on the Celtics Talk Podcast and shared his expectations for the series.

🔊 Celtics Talk: Scal previews Celtics in 2024 Finals, plus... were we wrong about Kyrie and the Mavs? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I watched the March 1 matchup, liked what I saw," Scalabrine said. "I know Dallas is playing a lot better. You can make an argument the way that we play through the playoffs that we're not playing as good as we did during that time. Like, we played one of our better games, by the way, March 1 against Dallas.

"But you know, I thought Jrue Holiday was amazing. Jaylen Brown in the November matchup, he was amazing on Luka (Doncic). I'm optimistic -- I'm not saying you're going to stop Luka Doncic or anything like that -- but I'm optimistic that we can 'slow him down' and we can 'take advantage of him' defensively as long as (Kristaps) Porzingis is out there playing."

While Dallas' size could give Boston some trouble, Scal believes the C's lethal 3-point shooting will be the difference-maker.

"They've got a real problem with range-shooting bigs. They just do," he added. "Like, their roster is not situated to stop that. They need Dereck Lively, they need Daniel Gafford at the rim with those guys. When they're at the rim, those guys are great defensively. They almost echo the way that Rob Williams was with us when we made our Finals run last time. You know, like, everybody funneling guys in. They don't foul. They pull their hands back. They force you to make shots at the rim around a Rob Williams.

"But the range shooting and the good ball movement should negate that. So, I'm not saying we're going to sweep them. ... I think we're going to win this series, but we're not going to sweep that team."

Also in the episode:

  • What did we learn from the Celtics-Mavericks March 1 matchup?

  • How are the Mavericks different now?

  • Expectations for Kristaps Porzingis.

  • Get Al Horford a ring!