Celtics on the verge of a record 18th championship

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DALLAS, June 13, (AP): Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown shared a long hug after helping Boston avoid the biggest collapse in an NBA Finals game since at least 1997.
The reward? The Celtics stars are on the brink of joining the litany of big-name predecessors to put a banner above the parquet floor back home.
Tatum scored 31 points, Brown had 30 and the Celtics held off a furious Dallas rally to move to the verge of a record 18th championship with a 106-99 victory over the Mavericks on Wednesday night for a 3-0 lead.

Brown finished with eight rebounds and eight assists as the Celtics extended their franchise record with a 10th consecutive playoff victory and moved to 7-0 on the road this postseason. They can win the series and break a tie with the Lakers for most NBA championships with a victory Friday in Dallas.
And Boston can forget about nearly blowing a 21-point lead with 11 minutes to go.
“Not trying to look too much into it,” Tatum said. “The game of basketball is about runs. It’s never going to go as you expected. If you want to be a champion, you have to be resilient in those situations, and we did that tonight.”

Boston also improved to 10-1 in these playoffs without Kristaps Porzingis after the 7-foot-2 Latvian was ruled out before the game because of a rare tendon injury in his lower left leg sustained in Game 2.
The status of Porzingis for the rest of the series appears in doubt, but it might not matter. None of the previous 156 teams to face a 3-0 deficit has rallied to win an NBA playoff series.

The Mavs almost pulled off a crazy comeback to avoid the big hole – 13 years after Dallas had the biggest fourth-quarter rally in the play-by-play era of the NBA Finals (since 1997) when a 15-point comeback in Game 2 started its run to the franchise’s only title against Miami.
Boston led 91-70 at the end of a 20-5 run early in the fourth quarter before Dallas answered with a 22-2 spurt to get within a point with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

The problem was, that Luka Doncic picked up his sixth foul with 4:12 remaining when a challenge was unsuccessful before Kyrie Irving, who scored 35 points, hit a jumper to get Dallas within one.
Tatum and Brown saved the Celtics from there, with some help from Derrick White, who scored 16. Those three combined for the remaining 13 Boston points to get the Celtics within a victory of their first title since 2008, and just the second since 1986.

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