On Friday evening, star point guard Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks were able to stave off elimination by defeating the Boston Celtics in blowout fashion in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Dallas. Doncic and co-star Kyrie Irving set the tone from the jump, and the Mavericks finally got some help from their supporting cast for the first time all series, which coincided with a terrible effort from the Celtics en route to a game that at one point had a 48-point margin for the Mavericks.

Of course, the Mavericks still have an uphill climb in front of them, to say the very least, as the team will have to win three more games in a row–two of them in Boston–in order to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series, something the Celtics very nearly pulled off in last season's playoffs vs the Miami Heat.

That quest starts on Monday with Game 5, and Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd is ready for the challenge that the Celtics will present as they look to clinch the championship in front of their home fans.

“They're not a team that changes, they're a team that makes you change,” said Kidd, per Noa Dalzell of CelticsBlog on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter. “They're going to probably see that they had some good looks from three that didn't go down, and also probably being able to get (Jayson) Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown going early, having those two attack our defense early is probably something that could be an adjustment. But for them it's shooting the three, creating the three, and then capitalizing on your mistakes, and hopefully for us, our mistakes were low in Game 4, and hopefully they're low in Game 5.”

An uphill battle

 Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots the ball against Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) during the third quarter during game four of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center.
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks have to feel a lot better themselves after finally playing up to their capabilities on Friday evening in front of their home fans. However, the team will still have to apply several of the principles they displayed on Friday once again in Game 5 on Monday, but this time in a much more hostile environment and against a Celtics team that will be highly motivated after suffering one of the most lopsided defeats in NBA Finals history.

One of the biggest areas of the game where the Mavericks showed clear improvement in Game 4 was on point of attack defense, as the Celtics had a much more difficult time getting past their initial defender than they had encountered in the first three games. It also helped that Boston simply missed many of the shots that had been previously going down for them, both from the three point arc and closer toward the basket.

Dallas will have to continue to apply more pressure on the ball early and often in order to make things more difficult for the Celtics on offense, while having their role players replicate their strong performances from Game 4.

In any case, Game 5 is set for 8:30 PM ET on Monday.