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Mavs coach tries to get under Celtics’ skin again

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DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd likes to counter in his gentle way.

He did it early in the NBA Finals when he called Jaylen Brown — not Jayson Tatum — the Boston Celtics’ best player.

The Celtics didn’t bite when asked to respond to Kidd’s comment.

Kidd was at it again on Friday after the Mavericks defeated Boston 122-84 in Game 4 of the Finals. Dallas avoided a sweep by the third-largest margin of victory in Finals history.

The former All-NBA guard couldn’t resist a few blows at the Celtics’ expense despite his team’s 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series.

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“Our group was ready to go. They were ready to celebrate,” Kidd said. “You understand, we took a stand. We were desperate. We have to keep playing this way; understand that they are trying to find a way to close the door.”

“The hardest thing in this league is to close the door when you have a group that has nothing to lose. (Friday) You saw that. They let go of the rope pretty early, you know.

Now Kidd and the Mavericks still face a historically insurmountable task. No team that has been down 3-0 in 156 occasions has won a series, and only four teams have forced a Game 7 in NBA history.

“We have nothing to lose going to Boston,” Kidd said of Game 5 on Monday.

Follow NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt on social media @JeffZillgitt