NBA Finals: Jrue Holiday starred as the Celtics held off a late Mavericks rally to take a 2-0 series lead.

The Dallas Mavericks bounced back from a Game 1 blowout Sunday night with a big game from Luka Doncic and an improved effort from the field.

It didn’t matter.

The Boston Celtics rallied from poor shooting 3s and Jayson Tatum’s 105-98 win in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Jrue Holiday led the Boston offense to one of its best outings of the season. The Celtics now have a 2-0 series lead as the series shifts to Dallas for Game 3. Per ESPN, teams that take a 2-0 lead in the finals have a 31-5 (86.1%) record.

Jayson Tatum, left, hands off control of the Celtics offense to Jrue Holiday in Sunday's Game 2 Celtics victory.  (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Jayson Tatum, left, hands off control of the Celtics offense to Jrue Holiday in Sunday’s Game 2 Celtics victory. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Boston won Game 1 by opening the game with a 58-29 second quarter advantage and not allowing Dallas to take the lead from there. Dallas looked like the stronger team early Sunday, with Doncic scoring 23 points in the first half. After scoring 12 points in Game 1, Kyrie Irving had 10 points at halftime as Boston had few answers to Dallas’ elite backcourt duo.

But the Celtics still led 54-51 at halftime. They then turned the screws on defense to open the third quarter and take control of the game. Dallas turnovers — many of them by Doncic — were repeatedly turned into points on the other end.

The Celtics extended their lead to 83-74 in the third quarter, capped by a miraculous 3-pointer by backup point guard Payton Pritchard.

In the fourth quarter, Boston’s defense was in control and its 3-point shooting returned to form. A Derrick White 3-pointer extended the Celtics’ lead to 103-89 in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

Dallas isn’t finished. The Mavericks went on a 9-0 run late to make it 103-98 with 1:15 left. Then, as the clock ticked down to the final minute, Dallas threatened to cut the game to a single possession. Derrick White had other ideas.

Derrick Jones Jr. blocked a Tatum layup at the rim to ignite a Dallas fast break. Then Irving found a bounce pass to PJ Washington for a layup to cut Boston’s lead to 3. But White — an All-Defensive Team selection along with Holiday — chased the play and then blocked Washington.

The interception stymied the Knights’ rally and ended the game. Boston scored on the other end, but the Mavericks didn’t score again.

While Tatum struggled from the field, Holliday took control of the offense. The former All-Star and champion Milwaukee Bucks is a standout player in a Celtics offense that can count on its starters and now sixth man Kristaps Poroshenko on any given night. Holiday had his best offensive outing of the season on Sunday.

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Holiday led the Celtics’ offense at halftime with 17 points. He finished the game with 26 points and 11 rebounds to go along with three assists, one steal and one block. He was 11-for-14 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3.

Jaylen Brown had another strong effort to help lead the Celtics to a victory in Game 1. He had 21 points, seven assists and three steals while shooting 8-for-15 from the field. Tatum overcame his poor shooting night (6-of-22, 1-of-7 from 3) with a solid effort that featured his skills as a playmaker. He finished with 18 points, a game-high 12 assists and 9 rebounds.

On a night when Boston went 10-of-39 on 3-pointers, White was a bright spot from long range on 4-of-10 attempts. He finished with 18 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks, including a game-sealing stop in the final minute.

Danzig cooled off after his 23-point first half as Boston’s defense took control. He finished with a 32-point, 11-assist, 11-rebound triple-double. He tallied four steals, went 12-for-21 from the field and 4-for-9 from 3. But his eight turnovers helped Boston take control of the game.

Irving struggled in the second half after going 5-for-10 before halftime. He shot 7-of-18 from the field with 16 points and six assists. He missed all of his 3-point attempts and has yet to make a 3-pointer in the series after shooting 0-for-5 in Game 1.

Free throws again proved costly for Dallas. The Celtics hit 19 of 20 attempts, leaving the Mavericks 16 of 24 on the line.

Game 3 on Wednesday will give Dallas home comfort that could help Irving’s shooting woes. But the Mavericks, with NBA history working against them, face an uphill climb as they look to make this a series.

Live coverage is over44 updates

  • The final score was Boston 105, Dallas 98 with the Celtics leading the series 2-0.

  • Derrick White’s big block to preserve Boston’s lead.

  • Derrick White finally connects

    Derrick White has struggled with his shot throughout these playoffs, but hit four big 3s in a night where no other Boston player connected on more than two from distance. After a lackluster turnover from Dallas, the Celtics lead 103-89 with 3:32 to play.

  • Kristaps Porzingis could be the storyline moving forward

    Kristaps Porzingis, playing his second game with a right soleus strain in more than a month, didn’t look like himself in the second half. He briefly retreated to the locker room before returning to the bench. Upon re-entering the game, he moved actively on the field. The Celtics pulled him in favor of Al Horford in the final minutes of the game. One to keep an eye on as the series continues.

  • Porzingis is sluggish

    Kristaps Porzingis is injured or tired. Not moving with nearly the same fluidity as in the first half.

  • Kyrie now took control

    Kyrie has really held the key to Dallas’ formation in the fourth. He has six points and he creates for others. Daniel Gafford found Daniel Gafford in transition for the Mavs’ first layup of the entire series with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter of Game 2.

  • PJ Washington didn’t dial

    Credit to PJ Washington for following up on his recent miss, but he’s now 0-of-4 after hitting his first triple. His lack of shooting ability has robbed Dallas’ offense of an entire dimension.

  • Luca gets gasps

    A quick breather for Luka Doncic. Dallas got four points from Kyrie before the Celtics called a timeout, and Danzik returned after resting for roughly a minute.

  • The Mavs are coming up short

    The Mavs’ struggles from the foul line still make a big difference in Boston’s favor. After the Celtics went 17-of-18 from the line, and Daniel Gafford went 1-of-2, Dallas was just 11-of-19 and facing a nine-point deficit.

  • A fourth quarter slump?

    These first few minutes of the fourth quarter were the first to feel like the entire game had a rhythm or flow.

  • Oh, Baden Pritchard!

    After the Celtics took an 80-67 lead, the Mavericks responded with a 7-0 run to close the third quarter … until Payton Pritchard drilled a 34-footer at the buzzer. Pritchard had a knack for those shots in the playoffs. The Celtics led 83-74 entering the fourth quarter.

  • Mavs flash their pick-and-roll

    Derek Lively with a huge two-handed dunk off Luca’s pick-and-roll. That was their most effective PnR of the series so far.

  • The Celtics’ non-stars get it done — unlike the Mavs’ role players

    Dallas gets nothing from its supporting cast. The Mavericks, not named Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving, started 2-for-13 from the field and finished the opening half with 18 points on 20 shots. Meanwhile, Boston’s “others” carried over a slow start with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown scoring 13 points on 14 shots in the first half. Everyone else on the Celtics scored 41 points on 25 shots. Boston led 54-51 at halftime.

  • Tatum is a playmaker

    Tatum is exceptional as a willing passer. Up to 8 assists. He hits the tight ends with a goal to create for others, and he produced nearly half of Boston’s 5 points.

  • Tatum contributes in other ways

    Tatum didn’t score, and that and-1 was almost as exciting; But he has seven assists in the first half. Maybe it was an achievement for him.

  • Jrue Holiday feels it

    Jrue Holiday has been huge in keeping Boston on pace with Dallas’ offense. An array of back cuts, powerful drives, floats. He was the Celtics’ leading scorer with 14 points.

  • Derrick Jones Jr. steps up

    Some big contributions from Derrick Jones Jr. helped with an offensive rebound and cut to Josh Greene, who finished off a sweet no-look pass from Luca, stole a Tatum pass and completed an and-1 to draw Tatum’s second foul.

  • Doncic does it all – except the FT line

    Luca got every type of shot that fell his way tonight… except free throws as he was 2-for-5 from the line. We’re seeing him get a lot of work in post-ups, which we haven’t seen him do this postseason, but Doncic has been absolutely dependable in the past playoffs.

  • Jaylen Brown, who’s been mic-up all night, has some encouragement for his team:

    “Whatever you do, do it with confidence,” Brown said. “Embrace the moment. Breathe in it.”

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