Live updates: Celtics pulling away from Luka, Mavs in Game 2

There was no early-game surge from the Boston Celtics in Game 2. But despite poor shooting from 3 and an outburst from Luka Dončić, Boston enters halftime of Game 2 of the NBA Finals with a 54-51 lead.

Dončić, who was listed as questionable early Sunday with multiple injuries, leads the way 23 points on a scorching effort from the field (9-of-13, 3-of-6 from 3). Kyrie Irving has bounced back from a poor shooting performance in Game 1 with 10 points on a 5-of-10 effort from the field.

The Celtics, meanwhile are struggling from long distance on a 3-of-15 effort from beyond the 3-point arc. But it hasn’t mattered as Boston’s opened up a 3-point halftime advantage. Jrue Holiday leads Boston’s offense with 17 points. Jayson Tatum is struggling from the field (2-of-10, 5 points), but is making up for it with his playmaking (8 assists). Dallas is playing considerably better than in a blowout Game 1 loss. But the Mavericks can’t afford to led the Celtics get hot from 3 if they want to avoid a 2-0 series deficit.

Follow along with Yahoo Sports NBA experts Jason Fischer, Vincent Goodwill and Ben Rohrbach for Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Live34 updates

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    Fourth-quarter groove?

    These first few minutes of the fourth quarter are the first that have felt like they’ve had any rhyhthm or flow for the whole game.

  • Oh my, Payton Pritchard!

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

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    Mavs flash their pick-and-roll

    Dereck Lively with a huge two-handed dunk out of a pick-and-roll from Luka. That was their most effective P-n-R of the series so far.

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    Celtics non-stars getting it done — unlike the Mavs’ role players

    Dallas is getting nothing from its supporting cast. 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” are carrying a slow start from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who have combined for 13 points on 14 shots in the first half. Everyone else on the Celtics has scored 41 points on 25 shots. Boston leads at the break, 54-51.

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    Tatum the playmaker

    Tatum has been exceptional as a willing passer. Up to 8 assists. He’s attacking closeouts with the goal of creating for others and he’s generated almost half of Boston’s points even with scoring just 5 of his own.

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    Tatum contributing in other ways

    Tatum isn’t scoring, that and-1 was almost an exasperated one; but he does have seven assists in the first half. Maybe that’s a record for him.

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    Jrue Holiday is feeling it

    Jrue Holiday has been massive to keep Boston on pace with Dallas’ offense. Back cuts, powerful drives, an array of floaters. He’s the Celtics’ leading scorer with 14 points.

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    Derrick Jones Jr. stepping up

    Some huge contributions from Derrick Jones Jr. An offensive rebound and assist to cutting Josh Green, finishes a sweet no-look pass from Luka, then steals a Tatum pass and finishes an and-1 to draw Tatum’s second foul.

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    Doncic doing it all — except at the FT line

    Luka has had every shot type in his bag fall tonight … except his free throws as he’s 2-of-5 from the line. We’re seeing him get plenty of work in postups that we haven’t really seen from him this postseason, but Doncic has absolutely relied on in past playoffs.

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    Jaylen Brown, who’s mic’d up for the night, has some encouragement for his team:

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

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    Dante Exum gets early minutes

    Dante Exum starts the second quarter for Dallas with Luka and Kyrie both on the floor. Exum only played in garbage time in Game 1, but this three-guard lineup was one of the Mavs’ best during the regular season.

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    Where’s Jayson Tatum?

    And just like Game 1, Jayson Tatum is scoreless, this time for the entire first quarter. He’s 0-of-4 from the floor with 1 assist.

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    Dončić isn’t letting his injuries slow him down, getting in a tricky one-legged jumper. He leads the Mavs with 15 points in the first quarter.

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    Boston fortunate so far

    The Celtics should feel lucky to be down 3. They’re forcing turnovers and the Mavs are missing at the FT line (4-of-9). By the way, Jayson Tatum is 0-4 from the floor

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    Celtics struggling from 3

    After hitting seven 3-pointers and taking a 17-point lead in the opening quarter of Game 1, the Celtics missed their first eight attempts from distance in Game 2 and trail after one, 28-25. Each member of Boston’s rotation missed at least one 3-point attempt before Al Horford broke the streak with five seconds left in the first frame.

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    Kyrie getting it done

    Kyrie just has a way of nailing twisting layups that puncture a road crowd. Two big ones to give Dallas the lead after one quarter.

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    Letting them play

    There’s been a very light whistle so far in this one. Nine fouls (5 on Dallas, 4 on Boston) ha generated 14 total free throws. And Boston is 10-of-10 from the line.

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    Guarding Luka

    Jrue Holiday has spent the last few possessions on Luka, but he draws his second foul. Before Tatum went to the bench, the Celtics had their All-NBA superstar guarding Lively, so that Tatum and Brown could easily switch the Doncic assignment.

  • Jaylen Brown keeps adding to his NBA Finals highlight reel

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    Making things easier for Luka

    Dallas is trying to alleviate pressure on Luka by having someone else bring up the ball. You can’t tell he’s hurt when he’s dancing, but Luka is laboring a bit.

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