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NBA Finals Game 2 Odds, Injuries & Last Minute News for Mavs vs. Celtics

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The Dallas Mavericks have had three days to stew. Their 18-point loss in Game 1 to the Boston Celtics was not as close as the score seemed.

Any Mavs vs Celtics predictions or looks at free NBA picks need to factor in that blowout and how both teams have responded to it.

Jayson Tatum Jealousy?

Twenty or 30 years ago, it would have been heard solely as a compliment when Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said Jaylen Brown is the Boston Celtics' best player.

"Jaylen’s their best player," Kidd said Saturday. "Looking at what he does defensively, he picked up Luka (Doncic) full-court, he got to the free throw line. He did everything. That’s what your best player does."

Nowadays, in the age of nonstop social media and superstar empowerment, Kidd’s comments have been received entirely as Gamesmanship intended to get Jayson Tatum to step beyond his subtle role.

Tatum is a five-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection. Every preseason, he is high atop all MVP odds. But he scored just 16 points with 11 rebounds and five assists in Game 1. He played a complete Game, if not a highlight-heavy one. Tatum gave out 14 potential assists on top of his five assists, and he would have received much more praise this weekend if he had notched a triple-double.

That broad impact baffled the Mavs. If Tatum is making those kinds of passes, the Dallas defense simply cannot keep up.

Hence, the gamesmanship conspiracies. Kidd was trying to challenge Tatum’s psyche and provoke him into abandoning that offensive design.

"J-Kidd, man, yeah, I see what he’s doing," Celtics forward Al Horford said. "I see what he’s doing."

Boston, as a whole, seemed to recognize Kidd’s supposed motivation, but the players also recognized that Brown was named Eastern Conference Finals MVP for a reason.

Tatum’s balance will be intriguing, mostly because of Kidd’s compliment of Brown.

Bettors Remain against Boston

Just like Game 1, the bettors have lined up against the heavy favorites. As of Sunday morning, 70% of the betting handle at BetMGM has come in on Dallas, along with 57% of the individual bets, part of why the line has fallen to +6.5 from +7.5.

Luka’s Lingering Injuries

The supposed injury worry around Luka Doncic did not impact that spread come Sunday afternoon. He was downgraded to questionable due to the knee and ankle concerns that have plagued him much of the postseason.

Doncic has played all playoffs. There is no reason to think he will actually miss tonight, a thought reinforced by the spread not reacting to this worry.

NBA Finals Series Odds

Before Game 1, the Celtics were -225 favorites to win this series. That Game 1 rout made them -450 favorites to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

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