Celtics vs. Mavericks NBA Finals predictions and live updates: Game 3 odds, start time, lineups, channel and schedule

BOSTON — Luka Dončić is hurting. Kyrie Irving is struggling and Jason Kidd’s mind game on the Boston Celtics didn’t work. All are ingredients for the 2-0 hole the Dallas Mavericks are in during the NBA Finals.

Boston took firm command of this series Sunday night with a 105-98 win behind 26 points from Jrue Holiday, a near triple-double from Jayson Tatum and another balanced effort from Jaylen Brown.

Dončić, playing with a bruised chest in addition to nagging knee and ankle injuries, was dominant again in the loss, this time with a 32-point triple-double (11 rebounds and 11 assists). But he scored just nine points after halftime, and if any of the injuries are affecting him, well, Dallas can’t afford it, especially if no one else steps up.

“I think my turnovers and my missed free throws cost us the game,” said Dončić, who said he was “OK” physically. He suffered the chest injury taking a charge in Game 1, but said he didn’t feel any pain until the following day.

“I actually was (questionable),” Dončić said. “But I always want to play. All day we did a lot of things to get ready.”

Irving is shooting 13 of 37 in this series after his 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting in Game 2, and he’s 0 of 8 on 3s in two games. Irving’s teams have never beaten Boston since he left the Celtics in 2019, losing 12 straight.

“I would take the brunt of the responsibility,” Irving said. “The first two games weren’t the best for me, especially (Luka) scoring 25-plus points, getting rebounds, getting assists, doing the intangibles. And for me, I’ve always felt responsible for getting other guys comfortable out there, too.

“It’s on all of us. I’m pretty sure if you hear what everybody has to say, they will say that they can do something better. But I think the message right now is just get our bearings together.”

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How Celtics took command of NBA Finals with Game 2 win over hurting Mavericks

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