PredX’s Prediction Guide: NBA 2024 Final Key Insights

PredX x Aimelia
7 min readJun 6, 2024


The NBA 2024 Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks is set to be a thrilling matchup, bringing together two teams with different paths to the championship round. Here are five major storylines to watch, along with detailed analysis and insights to help you predict the outcome of this exciting series.

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1. The Return of Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis’ return to the lineup is one of the most anticipated elements of this series. The Celtics acquired Porzingis in the offseason, and his presence has been pivotal throughout the season. However, a calf injury has sidelined him since April 29th, and his condition remains a question mark.

Why it matters: Porzingis adds a unique dimension to the Celtics’ game. At 7-foot-3, he offers significant rim protection and can stretch the floor with his three-point shooting. During the regular season, he averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. His ability to play both inside and outside makes him a tough matchup for any team, including the Mavericks.

Key considerations:

  • Health and Rust: After being out for more than a month, Porzingis’ conditioning and rhythm will be under scrutiny. Historically, he has returned strong from injuries, but the Finals are a different beast. If he can regain his form quickly, he will be a game-changer for Boston.
  • Impact on Defense: Porzingis’ return could alleviate some of the defensive burden from Al Horford, who, at 38, has been logging heavy minutes. This will be crucial against a Mavericks team that likes to drive to the basket and draw fouls.
  • Three-Level Scoring: Porzingis’ scoring ability from all areas of the court will stretch Dallas’ defense, opening up lanes for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Porzingis’ effectiveness will significantly impact Boston’s ability to control the paint and maintain their defensive intensity. His performance could be the X-factor that tips the series in the Celtics’ favor.

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2. Luka Dončić vs. Boston’s Defense

Luka Dončić is undoubtedly the Mavericks’ most crucial player, and his performance against Boston’s highly regarded defense will be pivotal. Dončić has been phenomenal throughout the playoffs, averaging 28.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game.

Why it matters: Boston’s defense is built to contain players like Dončić. With defenders like Jrue Holiday and Derrick White, the Celtics have the personnel to make life difficult for the Slovenian star. During the regular season, Dončić had impressive stats against Boston, but the Celtics managed to win both encounters.

Key considerations:

  • Defensive Matchups: Jrue Holiday, known for his defensive prowess, will likely spend a lot of time guarding Dončić. Holiday’s ability to disrupt playmakers is well-documented, and his performance against Dončić will be critical.
  • Supporting Cast: Dončić’s success often hinges on the performance of his teammates. Players like Kyrie Irving and P.J. Washington will need to step up to alleviate some pressure from Dončić.
  • Fatigue and Physicality: The physicality of Boston’s defense can wear down even the best players over a series. How Dončić handles this physicality and fatigue will be a key factor.

Dončić’s ability to dominate games is unquestionable, but the Celtics’ defensive depth presents a formidable challenge. His performance will be essential for Dallas’ chances in this series.

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3. Boston’s Three-Point Shooting

The Celtics led the league in three-point attempts and makes during the regular season, and this strategy has continued into the playoffs. Their reliance on the three-point shot is a double-edged sword, providing both explosive scoring potential and a potential vulnerability.

Why it matters: Boston’s three-point shooting can quickly change the dynamics of a game. In the playoffs, they have averaged 14.6 makes per game, and when they hit 14 or more threes, they are 9–0.

Key considerations:

  • Volume and Efficiency: The Celtics need to maintain their shooting efficiency while continuing to take a high volume of shots. Players like Tatum and Brown must stay hot from beyond the arc.
  • Defensive Adjustments: Dallas will need to adjust their defense to contest Boston’s shooters. This could lead to defensive lapses and open up other scoring opportunities for the Celtics.
  • Role Players: Boston’s success from three often depends on contributions from role players like Al Horford and Derrick White. Consistent shooting from these players will be critical.

Boston’s ability to shoot the three-ball effectively will stretch Dallas’ defense and create opportunities for their stars. This aspect of their game is a significant reason why they are favorites in this series.

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4. The Kyrie Irving Factor

Kyrie Irving’s return to Boston adds an intriguing subplot to this series. Irving played two seasons with the Celtics before moving on to Brooklyn and eventually Dallas. His time in Boston was marked by high expectations and mixed results, culminating in a contentious departure.

Why it matters: Irving is a dynamic scorer and playmaker, capable of taking over games. His performance in the Finals will be critical for Dallas, especially given his previous experience in championship scenarios.

Key considerations:

  • Mental and Emotional State: Irving’s previous encounters in Boston have been emotional. How he handles the crowd and the pressure will be crucial. In his own words, he has moved past those days, but the atmosphere at TD Garden will test his resolve.
  • On-Court Chemistry: Irving’s chemistry with Dončić has been developing, but the Finals will be their ultimate test. Their ability to complement each other’s games will be vital for Dallas’ success.
  • Defensive Responsibilities: Irving’s defensive performance, especially against Boston’s backcourt, will also be under scrutiny. His effort on the defensive end will need to match his offensive output.

Irving’s experience and skill set make him a key player to watch. His ability to perform under pressure will be a significant factor in determining the outcome of the series.

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5. Coaching and Tactical Adjustments

The tactical battle between Boston’s Joe Mazzulla and Dallas’ Jason Kidd will be fascinating to watch. Both coaches have their unique styles and will need to make key adjustments throughout the series.

Why it matters: Coaching decisions in the Finals are often magnified, with every adjustment potentially swinging the momentum of the series. Mazzulla and Kidd have both shown their ability to adapt, but the Finals present a different level of challenge.

Key considerations:

  • Rotations and Minutes Management: Both coaches will need to manage their rotations carefully, ensuring their star players are fresh for crunch time. Mazzulla’s handling of Porzingis’ minutes and Kidd’s use of his bench will be critical.
  • Defensive Schemes: Adjusting defensive schemes to counter the opposition’s strengths will be vital. Mazzulla’s strategy to contain Dončić and Kidd’s plan to disrupt Boston’s three-point shooting will be key tactical battles.
  • In-Game Adjustments: The ability to make effective in-game adjustments can turn the tide of a series. Watching how Mazzulla and Kidd react to each other’s moves will be a strategic chess match.

The coaching battle will be a crucial aspect of the Finals, with each decision potentially having a significant impact on the outcome.

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The 2024 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks promises to be an exciting and closely contested series. With key players returning from injury, superstar performances, tactical battles, and emotional subplots, there are plenty of elements to keep an eye on. Understanding these storylines and insights will help fans and analysts alike to better predict and enjoy the unfolding drama of the NBA’s biggest stage.

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