DALLAS -- For a few minutes in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night, it looked like the Boston Celtics' bad habits would come back to haunt them.

The Dallas Mavericks, who appeared finished when they trailed by 21 points with 10 minutes to go, roared back with a 22-2 run, putting Boston's lead in peril and threatening to make this a series.


But just when things looked their bleakest, the Celtics flipped the script, holding Dallas to one field goal over a five-minute span, and claimed a 106-99 victory for a 3-0 series lead.

Boston is one win away from a record-setting 18th NBA championship -- one the Celtics can capture Friday in Game 4 here at American Airlines Center.


It looked like Boston had found a way much earlier, having responded to a 25-12 spurt by the Mavericks over the opening seven minutes -- a run that saw Kyrie Irving, who finished with 35 points after combining for 28 in the two games in Boston, get going for the first time in the series.

But just as quickly as Boston had established control, Dallas rediscovered itself. As Boston went 1-for-11 and committed three turnovers over the next 7:57, Dallas pulled to within 93-92 on an Irving layup with 3:37 remaining despite playing without Luka Doncic, who fouled out a few seconds earlier.


However, Boston persevered and improved to 7-0 on the road in these playoffs. It is 21-7 on the road over the past three postseasons -- the best winning percentage over a three-year span in NBA history, breaking a tie with the 1991 to 1993 Chicago Bulls.

Game four is in Dallas on Friday.

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