3 Duds, 2 studs from Mavericks' brutal Game 1 loss to Celtics

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, P.J. Washington
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, P.J. Washington / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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3. Dud - Daniel Gafford

One player who has been key in the Mavs' playoff success is Daniel Gafford. Gafford has been dominant in the playoffs, as he averages 9.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.

He found tremendous success in the Western Conference Finals. He averaged 10.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In Game 5, Gafford scored 11 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and went 100 percent from the field.

His success down low has helped the Mavs turn their season around. Gafford isn't afraid to body defenders inside and can use his big frame to contest shots. He also has formed a dynamic duo with Dereck Lively II as they have been interchangeable since Gafford arrived in Dallas.

Currently, he is averaging 21.8 minutes per game in the playoffs. This wasn't case Thursday though, as Gafford saw just 14 minutes of action.

The reason for his dip in minutes could be with his defense. The Mavs' big man struggled to contain the paint, as he recorded three rebounds. Boston was grabbing tons of offensive rebounds, and he isn't the most gifted defender in space. He also failed to shoot shots inside.

Gafford's biggest struggle was at the top of the key on both ends. He failed to contest the Celtics' 3-point attempts and struggled with his decision-making.

His pacing and footwork will need to improve if the Mavs hope to improve on the defensive end.

It will be interesting to see if Coach Jason Kidd decides to make a switch at the starting center position. It's unlikely, but Lively II may just be the better matchup.