Key to Mavericks beating Celtics is clear after Game 1 of Finals

Dallas Mavericks, P.J. Washington
Dallas Mavericks, P.J. Washington / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks were shell-shocked by the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, as the Mavericks had an extremely rough go at it on the offensive end. Dallas scored a postseason low 89 points and shot an abysmal 6-26 from beyond the 3-point arc, and their attempts at the rim were getting contested heavily by Kristaps Porzingis and Jaylen Brown in the second half.

Dallas' offensive process must be adjusted, as the Celtics have a level of defensive versatility that is unrivaled with Porzingis being back and moving well on the defensive end. Perhaps Mavericks role players need to attempt to play the in-between game more with how well the Celtics collapse the paint, and they certainly need to have more counters for the Celtics' help-side defense come Game 2.

Kyrie Irving has got to play better offensively as well despite the hostility of the Boston crowd, as the Mavericks lack the needed offensive firepower to beat a team that is as dynamic as the Celtics are throughout their starting five when Irving only scores 12 points on 6-19 shooting from the field.

P.J. Washington is the key for Mavericks to beat Celtics

There is clearly still a lot for the Mavericks to prove if they want to take home the NBA Championship, as Dallas followed their recent trend of sluggish shooting in Game 1s in this loss versus the Celtics in Game 1 of the Finals. However, there are still some bright spots to take away from this contest, mainly that P.J. Washington is a top-tier caliber role player and is proving it on the biggest stage.

Washington finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and shot 5-11 from the field, as he was easily the second-best aggressor at the rim for Dallas on offense only behind Luka Doncic in Game 1. Washington also played excellent defense on Jayson Tatum, as he along with Mavericks starter Derrick Jones Jr. forced Tatum to only shoot 6-16 from the field as the primary defenders on him.

Washington wasn't scared of the moment whatsoever on the NBA's biggest stage and his confidence never wavered in Game 1, which is extremely impressive when you take into consideration that Washington has never even played in the playoffs until this postseason run with Dallas this year.

Even though Washington hit some timely shots in the Western Conference Finals versus the Timberwolves, he still overall struggled with his shooting efficiency in that series, especially from outside. While it may not seem substantial at first glance, Washington getting going on offense on a consistent basis will be massive for Dallas' chances at gaining control of this series versus Boston, as the Mavericks were able to dismantle the Timberwolves in five games despite Washington's shooting struggles.

Kyrie Irving is bound to have some better offensive games in this series for Dallas, and it's extremely unlikely that the Mavericks shoot this poor from downtown in the Finals again, even with as stringent as the Celtics' defense is. With that being said, if the Mavericks get their offense clicking more in this series beyond just Luka Doncic's heroic shotmaking, then P.J. Washington could very well be too much of an overwhelming force for the Celtics defense to handle if he shoots as efficiently as he did in Game 1 going forward in this series.

Washington is a huge X-factor for Dallas, and he is bound to have another hot shooting game as he did earlier in the playoffs.

For more on P.J. Washington and the Dallas Mavericks in these NBA Finals, stay tuned as we will have you covered all series long.