Don't fret if you were forced to miss Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Not only did Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks keep their championship hopes alive with a historic beatdown of the Boston Celtics, but Magic Johnson's typically succinct, simple breakdown of the matchup is really all you need to see anyway.

After Dallas blew out Boston 122-84 at American Airlines Center, the Los Angeles Lakers legend feted the performance of Doncic, Kyrie Irving and Dallas' role players on Twitter.

“Dallas raised their intensity and played a lot more physical on the defensive end tonight, which carried into a better offensive rhythm!” Johnson wrote. “Luka and Kyrie played like stars with 29 and 21 points respectively, and they finally got some help from the bench tonight between Exum, Hardaway Jr., and Lively. I can't wait to see what happens back in Boston Monday night!”

Rejuvenated Luka Doncic, Mavericks force Game 5 

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts during the game against the Boston Celtics during game four of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

He's right about the Mavericks' overall intensity and physicality on the defensive side of the ball. They were a step faster, punched harder and recovered more quickly than the Celtics, playing with the spirit of a team that really believes it can make history as the NBA's first to ever climb out of a 3-0 hole in the postseason.

Doncic led the charge for the Mavs with an utterly dominant first half, getting to the paint at will, splashing midrange jumpers and finding his teammates for easy looks. He was even more impressive on defense, containing drivers and making multiple efforts with energy that was sorely lacking in not just his ugly Game 3 but throughout the championship series.

Despite clanking all eight of his 3-point attempts, it's tough to imagine a superstar answering his increasingly vocal critics in a manner more convincing than Doncic did Friday night. He finished with 29 points, five rebounds and five assists in just 32 minutes, always wearing a smile on his face and going out of his way to avoid antagonizing officials.

“Like I said at the beginning of this series, it's first to four. We're gonna believe 'til the end,” he said on the postgame podium. “We just gotta keep going. I have big belief in this team that we can do it, so we just gotta keep believing.”

Irving followed his lead, combining with Doncic to score 40 points in the first half alone as Dallas built a whopping 26-point lead at intermission.

Dante Exum, who hit a pair of threes, gave Jason Kidd's team another major jolt off the bench, as did Dereck Lively—especially on the offensive glass, grabbing seven of Dallas' misses—from the moment he entered for Daniel Gafford a few minutes after tipoff.

Don't read too much into Johnson's praise of Hardaway, though. While he scored a team-high 15 points off the bench on five triples, all of Hardaway's points came in the fourth quarter, well after Joe Mazzulla waved the white flag with 3:18 left in the third, the Celtics trailing 88-52.

Maybe Hardaway's scorching garbage-time shooting prompts Kidd to dust him off for rotation minutes in Game 5.

It stands to reason Boston will play far better offensively on their home floor—even should Kristaps Porzingis, whose absence on Friday loomed extremely large, remain sidelined—and the Mavs' offense always runs more smoothly with dangerous perimeter shooters around Doncic and Irving.

Hardaway has the long-range shooting chops to completely flip a game's momentum in just a couple minutes. Don't be surprised if Kidd is quick to play him come Game 5 if Dallas is struggling to score early, more confident Hardaway has found his touch.

The Mavericks may not need that long-range firepower to extend this series further, though. Doncic gave among the most complete efforts of his career in Game 4, while his supporting cast finally came to life on both ends of the floor. The odds are still squarely in the Celtics' favor, but Dallas has at least shown what it takes to make this series competitive.

Johnson said it best: “I can't wait to see what happens back in Boston Monday night!”