Brown has 22, Porzingis returns with 20 as Celtics open NBA Finals with 107-89 win over Mavericks

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis dunks next to Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively...

BOSTON (AP) — Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, Kristaps Porzingis added 20 in his first game in more than a month and the Boston Celtics powered past the Dallas Mavericks 107-89 on Thursday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Derrick White finished with 15 points for Boston, which led by 29 points in the first half and connected on 16 3-pointers in a powerful start to its quest for an 18th NBA title.

Porzingis, who had been sidelined since April 29 with a strained right calf, came off the bench and provided an immediate spark, adding six rebounds and three blocks in 21 minutes. Six Celtics finished in double figures.

Dallas cut the deficit to eight points in the third quarter, but Boston quickly pulled away again.

Luka Doncic led Dallas with 30 points. P.J. Washington added 14 points and eight rebounds. But Dallas couldn’t find offensive consistency beyond that, totaling just nine assists on its 35 field goals for the game.

Former Celtic Kyrie Irving struggled throughout, finishing with 12 points. He received a loud and extended chorus of boos Thursday when he was introduced before the game. It continued throughout the game whenever he touched the ball.

The treatment came after Irving sparred with Boston fans and was fined for using an obscene gesture during a 2022 playoff visit to TD Garden.

The Celtics, seeking their first championship since 2008, showed little rust from their 10-day layoff after sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.

They flowed with energy throughout, sharing the ball in the halfcourt and getting the ball to shooters for open 3s. They also attacked the interior of the Dallas defense and got to the rim for several dunks.

Meanwhile, apart from Doncic, who shot 12 of 26 from the field, Dallas struggled early to get into its sets and couldn’t find a consistent groove offensively.

The Mavericks led by one midway through the first quarter. The Celtics responded by outscoring them 44-16 to make it 58-29 in the second.

Things changed over the next 12 minutes of game action when Dallas used a 35-14 run, including 15 points by Doncic, to cut Boston’s lead to 72-64. But Boston ended the third quarter with a 14-2 spurt to get it back up 86-66 entering the fourth.

Dallas had just five assists through the first three quarters, the the fewest any NBA team has had, in any game, through 36 minutes in the last three seasons.

Porzingis ended his 10-game hiatus when he came off the bench with 7:17 left in the first quarter in place of starter Al Horford. With the exception of a white compression sleeve on his right leg, it was hard to tell Porzingis was coming off an injury.

He got into the mix quickly, knocking down a pair of free throws after being fouled by Doncic. A possession later, the Latvian connected in his first field goal when he dropped on a short jumper over Doncic.

He wasn’t done.

Minutes later he got loose in the paint for a two-handed dunk over Derrick Lively. On Dallas’ next possession, Porzingis was there to swat away Jaden Hardy’s layup attempt. The Celtics pushed the ball up the court and got the ball back to their big man, who calmly buried a 16-footer.

It was part of a 17-5 surge by Boston over the final 5:24 of the quarter that saw Porzingis go 4 for 5 from the field, score 11 points, block two shots and grab three rebounds. Boston carried a 37-20 lead into the second quarter.

Porzingis finished the half with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

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