Celtics Crush Mavericks, Will Kristaps Porzingis Emerge As X-Factor?

The Celtics took a 1-0 series lead in the NBA Finals with a dominant Game 1 performance, but the Mavericks made them work for it.

Jayson Tatum scored 27 points and Kyrie Irving added 22 as the Celtics pulled away late for a 107-88 victory on the road. Boston led by as many as 22 points in the first half, but Dallas fought back to make it a single-digit game midway through the fourth quarter.

Here are some other stories from a busy Wednesday.

The Lakers have reportedly narrowed their search for their next head coach, and while they initially appeared to be targeting first-time coaches, they have now pivoted to a more experienced option: UConn's Dan Hurley, sources tell CBS Sports.

Hurley, who has won two national championships with the Huskies, would be a formidable choice, but he would also be a curious one. UConn's success has been built on offensive efficiency, but Hurley's offense is historically good. In today's NBA, that's a necessity, as opposed to a differentiator.

The Lakers have some interesting pieces on offense, but they need a coach who can make their defense elite again. Hurley may be the man for the job, but he would need to leave UConn to take it.

Kristaps Porzingis' NBA Finals debut went about as well as it could have gone for the Latvian big man. He had 20 points, six rebounds, and three blocks, and he helped spark the Celtics to a dominant win over the Mavericks.

Porzingis' defense was also a key factor in the victory, as he was able to limit Luka Doncic's ability to score or distribute. Doncic still had 30 points, but he had just one assist, the fewest in playoff career.

The Celtics as a team had nine, the fewest by any team in a Finals game since 2007. Porzingis' defense made a difference.

The Lakers have seemingly taken their search for their next head coach in a new direction. After reportedly interviewing a number of first-time coaches, including former NBA player Jason Kidd, Brooklyn Nets assistant Jacques Vaughn, and Phoenix Suns executive James Jones, they have switched their focus to UConn's Dan Hurley, according to CBS Sports.

Hurley has been one of the most successful coaches in the NCAA over the past decade, winning two national championships with the Huskies and earning respect throughout the basketball world.

A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the Lakers are preparing a "massive" offer for Hurley, who is currently making more than $3 million per year in Storrs.

It remains to be seen whether he would take the Lakers job, as he is likely to receive other offers. Reports have linked him to the Utah Jazz, where he spent seven years as an assistant before taking the UConn job in 2018.

Hurley has extensive experience coaching in the NBA; he was an assistant with the Clippers, Magic, and Suns before going to UConn.

The Lakers' search for a new head coach has been going on for nearly two months and has been riddled with false starts, but they appear to be closing in on their man.

Kristaps Porzingis made his much-anticipated return to the NBA Finals on Wednesday night, and the big man did not disappoint. Porzingis scored 20 points, pulled down six rebounds, and blocked three shots to help the Boston Celtics to a dominant 107-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Celtics led by as many as 22 points in the first half, but the Mavericks fought back to make it a single-digit game midway through the fourth quarter.

It was Porzingis' defense that really made the difference, as he was able to limit Luka Doncic's ability to score or distribute. Doncic still had 30 points, but he had just one assist, the fewest in his playoff career.

The Celtics as a team had nine, the fewest by any team in a Finals game since 2007. Porzingis' defense made a difference.

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