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Aidin Ebrahimi’s 2024 NBA Finals Insights

Plus a look at what the future holds for the Mavericks and the other Western Conference teams

Posted on June 19, 2024

  By Aidin Ebrahimi, SuperWest Sports

For the first time since 2021, an Eastern Conference representative has won the NBA Finals.

The Dallas Mavericks put up a fight, but it wasn’t nearly enough to beat this formidable Celtics team.

Now, they will have to contend with the rest of the stacked Western Conference next season.

It’s time to wrap up our 2023-24 NBA season coverage with some insights from the Finals and a look at what the future holds for the Dallas Mavericks and the other Western Conference teams.

The Series Itself

No. 1 Celtics vs. No. 5 Mavericks (Celtics won 4-1)

Just like the 2023 Finals, the series got off to a pretty slow start. Luka Doncic was the only Maverick who showed up, scoring 40% of his team’s 42 points in the first half.

The Celtics jumped out to a 21-point lead before the start of the third quarter and managed to stay composed to win Game 1. Game 2 was slightly more competitive, as all five of the Mavs’ starters scored 11+ points.

They were in the driver’s seat early in the second quarter but failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity.

During a four-minute stretch where the Celtics only managed to score nine points, the Mavericks failed to score a single point.

They got the lead back early in the third but went on another long scoring drought, and the Celtics never looked back. This was an extremely winnable game for Dallas, as Jayson Tatum shot 6 for 22 from the field.

Luka Doncic scored 30 vs the Celtics in Game 1 | Mavs Moneyball

The Mavericks had the chance to right their wrongs at home in Game 3, and there were 15 different lead changes midway through the third quarter.

But then, Jaylen Brown erupted, scoring 15 points in the third, giving the Celtics yet another lead. Doncic fouled out in the fourth, effectively ending Dallas’ comeback attempt.

The Mavs were locked in heading into Game 4, desperately wanting to avoid a sweep.

The Celtics took their foot off the gas and it showed, as they were outrebounded by 21 boards, and shot 36.3% as a team.

Mavs fans hoped for a repeat of this performance in Game 6, but basketball is a predictable sport and talent always wins in the end.

Dallas made history with a 38-pt rout of Boston in game 4 |

The Celtics dominated in Game 5, as Kyrie Irving failed to show up and the Mavs never led at any point during the game.

The Celtics won their 18th championship and Jaylen Brown won a pretty weak Finals MVP, but it was deserved as he was the most impactful player on the winning team.

Luka was the best player, as he had the most points, rebounds, and steals among all players in the series. But this isn’t 1969.

A player from the losing team winning the Finals MVP sounds ridiculous (I’m talking to you, LeBron fans).

What’s Next For…

The Dallas Mavericks

Yes, the Mavs simply had less talent than the Celtics, but they could have extended the series for one or two more games had Kyrie Irving played better.

Kyrie put up 27.7 points per game while shooting 46.8% from the field in the Finals alongside LeBron, but only managed to score 19.8 points a night on 41.4% shooting in this series.

Yes, he took a backseat to Luka and was uncomfortable when playing in front of the hostile Boston crowd, but his days of 40-point games in the Finals are over.

The media was unforgiving when it came to Luka Doncic’s defensive struggles, which was slightly unfair.

Luka was banged up and still had to carry the load offensively (38.7% usage rate), so any defensive deficiencies were to be expected.

Kyrie Irving averaged 20 pts per game in the finals | Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports

The Mavs actually defended well as a unit, but they couldn’t score when it mattered most. They need some experienced players with enough juice left to contribute in a big game setting.

Tim Hardaway Jr. isn’t a big part of Dallas’ plans anymore, and the front office should try their best to get rid of him.

He is owed over $16 million next year, which is absurd for a man who has had just nine double-digit scoring nights over his last 36 games.

They should also listen to offers for Josh Green and maybe even Jaden Hardy if they’re serious about winning with this core.

Luka Doncic is 25 and is approaching his physical prime. The team shouldn’t wait until he’s 30 to make big moves. This offseason will be key, as the West is only going to get better.

The Rest of the West

The Celtics have the best odds to repeat as champions, while the Nuggets have the best odds in the West.

It helps when you have the best player in the conference, but their loss against the Timberwolves this year has made many Nuggets fans cautious.

The Wolves and Thunder have the next-best odds, but they both lost to the Mavericks.

They’re also not as young or inexperienced as the media makes it out to be and certainly not young enough to justify their ranking over the Mavs.

The Mavs have the fourth-best odds to return to the Finals. After that, we have our usual old heads from the Pacific Division.

The Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, and Suns aren’t as scary as they used to be and it seems like their time is up.

If LeBron stays with the Lakers, they’re the only one out of these four who can realistically make the 2025 Finals, but that depends on how well their new head coach (most likely JJ Redick) will do.

The Grizzlies have +5000 odds, the same as the Magic.

These guys took the Warriors to their limit before Ja Morant’s injury and arguably looked like the best team in basketball before Morant’s off-court incidents, so this ranking is pretty disrespectful.

They can shock a lot of people in 2024-25, but also keep an eye out for the Pelicans and Rockets, who need a bit of good luck to make some noise.

The Spurs are the ultimate wild cards. Most young “generational” stars lead their teams to the playoffs as sophomores, so don’t be surprised if Victor Wembanyama does the same.

The playoffs were pretty straightforward this year, but there’s no reason why that can’t change in 2024-25.

Enjoy the offseason, everyone.

—More from Aidin Ebrahimi—