We are already nearing the end of the NBA Playoffs, as we’re into the NBA Finals. Jonathan Von Tobel already did some great work on the matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics, doing an in-depth series preview, a look at head-to-head series props and analysis on series leaders in a number of statistical categories. JVT will also continue to provide you with his exceptional game-by-game deep dives. However, all of my picks will be featured in this daily column, which will combine my NBA best bets and NBA player props. So, keep reading to find out how I’m playing Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, June 9th. Also, check out our NBA Finals Betting Hub for all of our series content.

MORE: Check out our Pro Picks page for everything our experts have on June 9

 

NBA Best Bets Today – June 9

Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics (Game 2) – 8:30 pm ET

The Celtics came out and blitzed the Mavericks in Game 1. Boston had a 37-20 lead after the first quarter, sparked by tremendous two-way play from Kristaps Porzingis. In his return from a significant calf injury, Porzingis was hitting from everywhere on the floor offensively. His rim protection was also monumental for the Celtics, who got back to playing elite defense around the basket. Porzingis’ shotmaking was also contagious for Boston, with the non-Payton Pritchard Celtics shooting a combined 16 for 37 from deep.

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Overall, the Mavericks looked all out of sorts defensively, and the Celtics put the pressure on by going right at Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic on that end of the floor. And offensively, the Mavericks weren’t able to get anything going. Doncic did score 30 points in the game, but he wasn’t able to create magic the way we’re used to seeing. And Irving was a miserable 6 for 19 from the floor and 0 for 5 from 3. Irving’s poor play really set the tone for the rest of the team, as the spacing just wasn’t there all night.

There’s no denying that Dallas is going to need to change things drastically moving forward. But the Mavericks have been good at making game-by-game adjustments under Jason Kidd, while the Celtics really haven’t been under Joe Mazzulla. So, I’d expect Dallas — which seems to always throw Game 1 away under Kidd — to be the more prepared team in Game 2. The law of averages will also be at play here. The Mavericks were just 7 for 27 from 3 in Game 1 and that number is bound to skyrocket. If Irving can get himself going, that would certainly help. If he starts to draw some attention, he’ll then be able to get some of Dallas’ shooters some daylight. I’d also be surprised if Boston’s six main rotation players combine to shoot 14 for 35 (40.0%) from 3 again. I know this Celtics team can really shoot it, but the Mavericks are a good defensive team and that percentage just seems unsustainable.

It’s also worth mentioning that Jayson Tatum was incredibly patient in Game 1. He didn’t shoot very well in the game, but he went 6 for 16 from the floor and was a +16 in the game. Tatum seemingly wasn’t looking to force the issue, and that allowed Boston’s offense to flow quite nicely. But there will very likely be some games in which the Celtics star takes bad shots in isolation. We have seen it time and time again with this Boston team. Well, don’t be surprised if the Mavericks try to bait him into it in Game 2.

All in all, I know Game 1 was extremely ugly, but I’m still expecting the high-level defense in this series to lead to some really close games. With that in mind, I’ll happily take 7.5 points in what is going to be a desperation game for Dallas.

Bet: Mavericks +7.5 (-115 – 1.5 units)

NBA Player Props Today – June 9

Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics (Game 2) – 8:00 pm ET

P.J. Washington didn’t shoot the ball well in Game 1, but he still finished with 14 points. Washington has now scored at least 12 points in seven of the last 11 games, so it’s a little surprising to see his point total down at 11.5. I know the Mavericks offense runs through Doncic and Irving, but defenses are letting Washington take open shots. And until that changes, it’s hard not to like the Over on his point totals. Washington might not be a sniper, but he’s capable of knocking down a few open looks per game. He also has enough of an in-between game to get these bets home from there.

Bet: Washington Over 11.5 Points (-115)

2023-24 Record: 383-423-3 (+1.68 units)