When do the 2024 NBA Finals start? Mavs vs. Celtics schedule, channel, start time and odds


The 2024 NBA Finals will feature the league’s best team all season against one of basketball’s most dominant duos. The Boston Celtics — the top team in the East — will face Luka Dončić, Kyrie Irving and the West’s Dallas Mavericks in the best-of-seven series beginning on June 6.

The Celtics are going for a record 18th championship, which would put them one ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavericks are making their first Finals appearance since winning their first and only title in 2011.

The Celtics haven’t played since their Game 4 win over the Indiana Pacers on May 27 to complete their sweep in the Eastern Conference finals, while the Mavericks won Thursday’s Game 5 against the Minnesota Timberwolves to clinch the Western Conference finals series 4-1.

When do the NBA Finals start?

  • Game 1: June 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET (in Boston)
  • Game 2: June 9 at 8 p.m. ET (in Boston)
  • Game 3: June 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET (in Dallas)
  • Game 4: June 14 at 8:30 p.m. ET (in Dallas)
  • Game 5 (if needed): June 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET (in Boston)
  • Game 6 (if needed): June 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET (in Dallas)
  • Game 7 (if needed): June 23 at 8 p.m. ET (in Boston)

How to watch

ABC will broadcast all 2024 NBA Finals games.

Why is there such a long gap between games?

With the Celtics’ 4-0 sweep and the Mavericks’ 4-1 victory in their respective conference finals, there will be a weeklong break in playoff action. In recent years, the league has set an NBA Finals schedule ahead of time for all seven games in consideration of its stakeholders, including broadcast partners and fans.

How each team got here

The Celtics entered the postseason with a league-best record of 64-18 for the No. 1 seed in the East. They’ve dropped only two contests so far in the playoffs — both Game 2s, one against the No. 8 Miami Heat and the other against the No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers. After falling to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals last season, Boston avenged its playoff loss with a 4-1 series win over Miami in the first round. The Celtics then downed the Cavaliers 4-1 in the second round. They beat the No. 6 Pacers, who were without star Tyrese Haliburton for part of the series, in four games to further rewrite last year’s playoff narrative.

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The Mavericks had more of an uphill climb to reach the Finals. With a 50-32 record, they were the No. 5 seed in the West. Dallas pulled off 4-2 series wins over the No. 4 LA Clippers (in Round 1) and the No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder (in Round 2) to set up a matchup with the No. 3 Timberwolves in the conference finals. Despite the Wolves’ promise and Anthony Edwards’ poster-worthy dunks, Dallas’ crunch-time play made the difference as the Mavs completed their 4-1 win — Game 5 was the only blowout.

What’s at stake?

Boston — with star players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — is back in the Finals for the second time in three years. Their squad is a 2.0 version of last year’s team after offseason deals to land 7-foot-2 center Kristaps Porziņģis, who led the Celtics in blocks per game and was the team’s third-best scorer behind Tatum and Brown in the regular season, as well as Jrue Holiday, who earned All-Defensive First Team honors this season.

While Porziņģis has been out since suffering a calf injury in Game 4 against the Heat, he could return for the Finals, which would provide a major boost for a team in pursuit of its first title since 2008.

Dallas, led by the potent combo of MVP finalist Dončić and eight-time NBA All-Star Irving, has already beaten the oldest team in the NBA (Clippers), the youngest team that made the playoffs (Thunder) and the league’s best defensive team (Timberwolves). Now they’re looking to defeat the NBA’s best offensive team this season by taking down the mighty Celtics to win the franchise’s second title.

Key storylines

There’s also the added intrigue of both Porziņģis and Irving playing against their former teams. Irving was with the Celtics from 2017 to 2019, while Porziņģis played for the Mavericks from 2019 to 2022.

Additionally, there are storylines to follow on the coaching side. At 35 years old, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla is the youngest head coach to reach the NBA Finals since Bill Russell won a title with the Celtics over the Lakers in 1969. Russell was 35 at the time but was also playing for the team.

Similar to Mazzulla, a championship would be a first for the Mavericks’ Jason Kidd as a head coach. Kidd, 51, won a title as a player for the Mavericks in 2011 and as an assistant coach for the Lakers in 2020.

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Season series recap

Boston won both regular-season matchups against Dallas. In January’s 119-110 victory, Tatum had 39 points and 11 rebounds while the Celtics were without Porziņģis during the second night of a road back-to-back. The Mavs had four days off.

In March in Boston, the Celtics won 138-110 as Brown put up 25 points and the team shot 55.3 percent compared to the Mavericks 46.8 percent shooting from the field. That was after the trade deadline, with both rotations fully healthy.

Numbers to watch

If you like 3s, this Finals matchup is for you. The Celtics led the NBA in 3s made and attempted this season. The Mavericks were second in 3s attempted, and third in 3s made per game.

Additionally, according to Synergy, the three playoff opponents of the Celtics ranked no higher than 15th in total isolation possessions that included passes during the regular season. The only teams with more isolation possessions than the Celtics were the Mavericks and the league-leading Clippers, the team Dallas beat in the quarterfinals.

Required reading

(Photo: Brian Fluharty / Getty Images)



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