Jaylen Brown

The Celtics are so close to another NBA championship…

kinda like Rory McIlroy was so close, until he wasn’t.

Boston Ready To Close Out?

What Happened: No NBA team has ever come back in a playoff series down 3-0, but the Mavericks took the necessary first step with a blowout win on Friday to get on the board against Boston.

Dallas’ confidence might be ticking back up, but it also now has to go into Boston to keep its season alive. The Celtics have won five straight games at home this postseason, and will have the extra motivation of having the Larry O’Brien trophy in the building for Game 5.

Why It Matters: Much of the intrigue tonight centers around two players and their former teams.

Kyrie Irving’s return to TD Garden was hardly a triumphant one. He barely made an impact in Games 1 or 2; can the Mavericks survive another quiet performance from their second star?

For the Celtics, will Kristaps Porzingis be able to suit up and help close the series out? The big man had a major impact in the minutes he played in Games 1 and 2, but a “rare” leg injury has kept him sidelined since. Porzingis is “questionable” to play, although coach Joe Mazzulla did admit there were “specific instances” in which Porzingis would’ve been called into action in Game 4.

A big night from Irving can push this series to a sixth game, but if KP is able to make any sort of impact, the Celtics will be celebrating their 18th NBA championship soon enough.

How We’re Feeling Today

We’re cringing after that display Rory McIlroy put on at the U.S. Open yesterday.

McIlroy, who is unfortunately becoming synonymous with “chokejob,” had a two-stroke lead with three holes to play. We’ll spoil it for you now and confirm that by the end of the tournament, it was Bryson DeChambeau and not McIlroy hoisting the hardware.

One stat sums up how excruciating McIlroy’s collapse was: before yesterday’s 16th hole, he previously had been 496-for-496 on putts from within three feet. He missed his first ever on the 16th hole, and then botched a chance to par 18 from under four feet.

496-for-496! That’s insane consistency, and to suddenly lose form with the U.S. Open within your grasp? Good luck getting a good night’s rest anytime soon Rory.

The Look Ahead

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving POINTS + ASSISTS Irving struggled when playing back in Boston in Games 1 and 2, combining for just 28 points and helping Dallas slip into an 0-2 Finals hole. The Mavs staved off elimination with a Game 4 win, and will need another tonight to extend their season. Against the Clippers in Round 1, Irving produced three games of 30+ points; same in the Western Conference finals. His line tonight is 28.5, and after his 35-point performance in Game 3, the Dallas guard will be counted on to step up and keep the season alive for Jason Kidd’s team.