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Redemption-seeking Celtics face Mavericks in NBA Finals

As the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics prepare to tip off the NBA Finals, the four biggest names in the series are looking at this moment through different lenses.

Boston's Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown see it as a chance at redemption after falling narrowly short two seasons ago and then failing to return last year.

"You think you're young (and) if you've been once, you'll continue to keep going," Tatum said.

"We realised that last year. We kind of took it for granted at certain moments."

Dallas's Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving see the Finals as their first opportunity to make good on a partnership that began late last season after the latter was traded from Brooklyn.

After a slow start this season, the superstar pair found cohesion after the All-Star break and emerged from a deep Western Conference field.

For Irving, it has been a reminder that success can be fleeting.

He won his lone championship with Cleveland in 2016 and has played with three teams over the past eight years. His time in Dallas has reinvigorated him.

"These young guys are very hungry. They want a championship. I want a championship," he said.

"So our feelings are very mutual. But I've always reminded them that this is a process. Failure is going to be part of this, too."

Doncic credits the partnership with Irving for uncorking the potential of a team that entered the post-season as a fifth seed.

"His leadership is amazing," Doncic said.

"The way he connects us. Me and Kyrie are the leaders of this team, but he's the one that's been in the Finals. He's the one that won in the Finals. He's the one that is really leading it."

Alongside the Mavericks' Australian pair Dante Exum and Josh Green, they will matchup with a Boston team playing like a group that has learned from its recent shortcomings.

Brown said a core that features seven players from the 2022 team that lost in the Finals to Golden State, is up to the challenge.

"We've been able to go through the experiences of having success but not having success at the same time," he said.

"To solidify the ultimate goal is to get over the hump and win. That will add a lot to our legacy."

This stage is nothing new to Mavericks mentor Jason Kidd, who is in the Finals for the fifth time as a player or coach.

He has experienced lows - losing in 2002 and 2003 as a player with the New Jersey Nets - as well as the highs of his lone title as a player with Dallas in 2011 and as an assistant on the Lakers' 2020 championship team.

"This is the best of the best at the highest level," Kidd said.

"It's fun. That's what the Finals are all about - seeing what team is going to step forward and take advantage of mistakes."

According to Boston's Joe Mazzulla, it's the "toughest team" that will take the honours.

"The team that makes the most plays will win. The team that can execute the details at a high level will win. It's no different," he said.