Boston Celtics

Tatum still the Finals MVP favorite after Game 2 with Brown lurking

Jayson Tatum is still the favorite for the award despite two subpar shooting performances.

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The Boston Celtics moved one step closer to their 18th Larry O'Brien Trophy on Sunday, and there's a compelling race building for the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award.

Boston defended home court in Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals with a 105-98 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. The victory gives the team a commanding 2-0 lead as the series shifts to Dallas, and it has gotten contributions from across the roster through two Finals wins.

Jrue Holiday carried the scoring load for the Celtics on Sunday, dropping 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting while also grabbing 11 rebounds. Jaylen Brown chipped in 21 points and Derrick White added 18 points to go along with key defensive plays.

And then there's Jayson Tatum, who scored 18 points in a poor shooting performance (6-for-22 overall) but dished out 12 assists and was a rebound shy of a triple-double.

While one could argue president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has played the most important role in the Celtics' Finals run thus far (NBC Sports Boston's John Tomase made the case), Finals MVP will be awarded to a player. Through two games, oddsmakers are unsure which player that will be.

Here are the top players' Finals MVP odds from before the series, after Game 1 and after Game 2, courtesy of Fanatics Sportsbook:

  • Jayson Tatum, Celtics: -120, +110, +125
  • Jaylen Brown, Celtics: +600, +270, +165
  • Luka Doncic, Mavericks: +200, +350, +650
  • Jrue Holiday, Celtics: +5000, +12000, +750
  • Derrick White, Celtics: +3500, +7000, +5000
  • Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics: +4000, +550, +5000
  • Kyrie Irving, Mavericks: +2000, +4000, +7500

Tatum remains the slight Finals MVP favorite despite two subpar shooting outings, while Brown's odds have steadily improved after each game.

Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis have seen their odds go up and down thus far. Porzingis' odds skyrocketed after his Game 1 heater but dropped dramatically after his 12-point, four-rebound night in Game 2. Conversely, Holiday's more modest Game 1 didn't move the needle, but his dominant Game 2 propelled him to the fourth-most-likely Finals MVP for 2024.

On the other side, two losses have done damage to Luka Doncic's and Kyrie Irving's Finals MVP odds.

Doncic's odds dipped despite a 31-point triple-double in Game 2, and his current Finals MVP odds nearly mirror the Mavericks' championship odds (+600). Irving, meanwhile, has seen his odds nearly quadruple from the start of the series. The former Celtics scored 16 points on 7-for-18 shooting and has failed to hit a 3-pointer yet in the series.

Doncic and Irving will look to get in the win column and defend home court in Game 3 on Wednesday, while the Celtics will look to put the Mavs on the verge of elimination.

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