Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks staved off elimination in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, and Monday night they'll be back at it in Boston for Game 5 against the Celtics. It still doesn't look good for Dallas. No team in NBA history has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, let alone in the Finals, but if they can get a win in Boston and take this thing back to Dallas for Game 6, things will start to get pretty interesting. 

For now, though, we're still pretty safe in assuming Boston is going to win the title, with the only real drama being who's going to take home Finals MVP. After four games, here are my Finals MVP rankings. 

1. Jaylen Brown, Celtics

Jason Kidd said Brown is Boston's best player, and in this series, at least, he has been right. Brown had a dud of a Game 4, but so did every Boston player, and he should still be the Finals MVP favorite. Brown has had three terrific games, with Nos. 1 and 3 being his standout showings. He's Boston's leading scorer at 20.3 points per game. 

Brown went for 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in Game 3. With a minute left and the Mavericks having trimmed Boston's lead from 21 to two, Brown hit biggest shot of the series to push the lead back to four and Dallas never got any closer. 

This is to say nothing of Brown's defense, which has been extraordinary. He has allowed his teammates to stay on their assignments with his ability to not just challenge, but at times overwhelm, Luka Doncic all on his own at the point of attack. Brown is the first player since Tim Duncan in 2002 to card three steals and three blocks in Game 1 of the Finals. This is still his award to lose. 

2. Jrue Holiday, Celtics

Holiday's greatness in this series can't be quantified with numbers, though his 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists on 55/44/100 shooting splits is plenty impressive. Holiday has been unbelievable in this series (again, excluding Game 4, which goes for every Celtic). 

Holiday's defense, as usual, has disrupted Dallas all over the court. He has smothered Kyrie Irving, who couldn't do a thing offensively through the first two games. He's killing the Mavericks by cutting to open space for easy finishes. He's getting to the rim off the dribble when the situation calls for it. And his energy on the offensive glass and chasing down loose rebounds has been inspiring. Look at this maniac...

Through the first two games of the series, Holiday had 38 points and no turnovers; that's the most points any player has scored through the first two games of a Finals without committing a turnover since Michael Jordan in 1998, per Stathead. Holiday's 26-point/11-rebound showing in Game 2, on 11-of-14 shooting, is the single best performance of this series. 

It feels like Holiday would need a huge Game 5 and with just a so-so Brown showing to win this thing, but that can certainly happen to cap what would be an Andre Iguodala-type Finals MVP run. 

3. Jayson Tatum, Celtics

Tatum might well be second on a lot of voters' rankings right now. He's averaging the same 20 PPG that Brown is (albeit on significantly worse efficiency with a 36% shooting clip) and he's doing a lot more as a rebounder and playmaker. He has not played better than Holiday, but given that the raw numbers are now in line to lead the team with a big Game 5, he's in the hunt if Brown falters and Holiday doesn't do enough to inspire an unconventional vote. 

The biggest factor in Tatum's favor has been his playmaking. He has 25 assists through four games and has created a lot more offense than that by consistently beating his man into the paint. That even continued in the early part of Game 4, to the extent that anyone showed up for Boston. Kidd can talk all he wants about Brown being Boston's best player, but at least offensively speaking, the fact that Tatum is the one getting disproportionate defensive attention tells the truth. 

Tatum is the head of the snake, and he has been consistent in his determination to leverage that power by attacking downhill and creating rotational opportunities for his teammates. This stat following Game 2, when Tatum finished with 12 assists, tells it all:

Again, Brown, and to a lesser degree Holiday, is probably going to have to fall off in Game 5 for Tatum to have a chance to win Finals MVP with a big performance. But he will have some sentiment on his side. Voters are human and will understand that while he's getting killed for his poor shooting, everything else he's doing as the guy getting the most defensive attention is worth recognizing now that the scoring stats open the opportunity to swing the vote. 

4. Luka Doncic, Mavericks

Now that Dallas is on the board, they get an official candidate for FMVP. It's a Ross Perot longshot, but Luka is on the ticket as by far the leading scoring in the series at 29.5 PPG on 47% shooting. He hasn't shot well from 3 or the free-throw line, he committed eight turnovers in Game 2, and his defense through the first three games was downright shameful

But he did bring his A-game in Game 4, despite remaining cold from 3, and he's ore than capable of taking over Game 5 and getting this series back to Dallas, at which point he and the Mavericks would start to feel like at least a plausible threat.