Skip to main content


Presented by:

FanDuel Sponsored Logo 2022

Setting The Pick – One last ride?

Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown - The Canadian Press

Don’t be shocked if the NBA Finals wrap up tonight.

Coming into this showdown, the Celtics were priced as -220 favourites. One week later, that number has shortened to -8000.

The bleak reality for Dallas? NBA teams that have gone down 3-0 in a seven-game series have a 0-156 record.

Just like Vince Carter after his legendary jam with T-Mac at the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, it’s safe to say, “It’s over.”

While the Celtics might not win tonight, history suggests that their 18th championship banner will be hung up in the rafters.

This trophy will put them back in sole possession of first place, one championship ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Let’s go through player props one last time for the 2023-24 season. I’m betting we’ll have nothing to talk about come next Friday.

All-around effort from Brown, passing included

There was a great deal of controversy when Jaylen Brown was selected for Eastern Conference Finals MVP over Jayson Tatum in a 5-4 vote.

Even though Tatum had overwhelmingly better stats that round, Brown was given the Larry Bird trophy.

As shocking as it sounds, he’s on pace to win his second MVP trophy during this championship run.

Brown currently leads the Celtics in scoring through three games at 24.3 ppg, but what has really stood out from him during these Finals is his defensive effort on Luka Doncic.

His all-around impact over these first three games has been instrumental to Boston’s success.

One of the underrated ways he’s helped Boston get to a 3-0 lead has been his playmaking.

Historically not known for his passing, Brown has averaged 2.4 apg over his eight-year career and only 2.6 apg in the first three rounds of this postseason.  During this series versus Dallas, he’s at 5.7 apg.

His jump in assists is heavily correlated to the Mavericks’ defensive tendencies.

Since the acquisition of Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington at the trade deadline, Dallas’ defence has vastly improved at protecting the rim.

They kept opponents to shooting 62.7 per cent within the restricted area – third-best in the NBA.

But staying home in the paint comes with its faults; Dallas gave up the third-worst percentage from deep and eighth-worst from the mid-range.

Brown has been incredibly effective at driving past his defender this round, and it’s forced the Mavericks to collapse on him more often than not. He’s doing a great job making the right reads and finding his open teammates.

At 11.3 potential assists per game, he’s projected to go over this line if the series continues as it has. 

The Play – Brown over 4.5 assists (+108)

Too little, too late from Kyrie

Much has been made of Kyrie Irving’s 13-game losing streak versus Boston after he stomped on their logo three years ago.

Whether the boos in TD Garden were a factor or not, he failed to deliver a championship performance in both away games, leaving Dallas in a terrible spot.

Even though he dropped 35 points in Game 3, the damage was already done.

Everyone on Dallas deserves their fair share of the blame – the criticism over Doncic’s defence is absolutely warranted, and the role players have all shrivelled under the bright lights.

Considering Boston’s depth from one through six, Irving needed be the second-best player in this series for the Mavericks to have a fighting chance.

In an elimination game, it’s fair to expect Irving to leave it all out on the court.

For starters, his 28 field-goal attempts and 45 minutes played on Wednesday were both playoff highs.

Additionally, in seven previous elimination games, he’s averaged 27.3 ppg. His playoff career average is 23.1 ppg.

The loss of Kristaps Porzingis definitely opens the door for more interior scoring from Dallas.

Irving needs to be more involved to avoid an embarrassing 4-0 sweep.

The Play – Irving over 24.5 points (-115)

Dallas to show some pride

There’s a world where Dallas gets blown out in Game 4.

Boston has proven they’re the better team and have all but won the Larry O’Brien trophy.

But if the Mavericks have any pride as a team, they have to come out swinging in the first quarter.

Even though the spread is in Boston’s favour for Game 4, I expect Dallas to treat this like a sprint.

Halfway through the first quarter on Wednesday, Dallas got out to a 13-point lead where Doncic and Irving were involved in 21 of their first 25 points.

That level of aggression is mandatory unless the Mavericks have already given up.

The Celtics, on occasion, have displayed a tendency to play with their food.

If there’s any spot for a mental letdown, the opening quarter on the road of a locked up championship run should be the spot.

The Play – Dallas -0.5 first quarter spread (-115)