Boston Celtics Defeat the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 to Capture Their 18th NBA Championship

With supporters at TD Garden cheering him on from the stands, Jayson Tatum put his hands behind his head and took it all in.

He walked to the bench and embraced Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla with both arms.

Once more, the Boston Celtics are the only NBA champions.

The Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 on Monday night to win the franchise’s 18th championship, snapping a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in league history. Tatum finished with 31 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds.

On the sixteenth anniversary of winning its final Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2008, Boston won its most recent championship. One of the Big 4 professional sports teams in the city has won 13 championships this century.

When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver presented the team with the trophy, Tatum exclaimed, “It means the world,” on stage. It has been a while. And wow, I’m appreciative.

Voted the NBA Finals MVP, Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.

Brown stated, “I share this with my brothers and my partner in crime Jayson Tatum,” following their 107th combined postseason game, which is a record for any team without a championship.

With 11 rebounds and 15 points in the end, Jrue Holiday excelled. After missing two games due to a dislocated tendon in his left ankle, center Kristaps Porzingis returned and scored five points in just 17 minutes, providing an additional emotional boost.

They assisted the Celtics in capping a 16-3 postseason run and an 80-21 overall record. The only team in franchise history with a higher winning percentage (.792) is the champion Celtics squad of 1985–86, who ended 82–18 (.820).

Mazzulla, who is 35 years old and in his second season, made history by being the youngest coach to lead a team to a title since Bill Russell in 1969.

“You have very few chances in life to be great,” Mazzulla stated.

Dallas, who avoided a sweep with a 38-point victory in Game 4, was unable to extend the series as Luka Doncic finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Doncic has scored at least 31 points in each of the Mavericks’ three postseason Game 5 victories. He argued Dallas’s struggles throughout the series were not justified by the injuries he had during the finals to his chest, right knee, and left ankle.

“It doesn’t matter if I was hurt, how much was I hurt. I was out there,” he declared. “I didn’t play enough, but I tried to play.”

Kyrie Irving, who departed the Boston Celtics franchise in the summer of 2019 to join the Brooklyn Nets, finished with just 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting. The Celtics have lost 13 of the last 14 matchups with Irving.

Irving believes that the Mavs have better things in store.

He stated, “I see an opportunity where this is almost like a regular thing for us and we’re competing for championships, where we really build our future in a positive manner.”

After falling behind 3-0 in a postseason series, NBA teams are currently 0-157.

Jason Kidd, the coach of the Mavericks, thinks that Doncic and his group will learn from this NBA Finals experience.

“I think the first step is just to be in it. I think that’s a big thing,”  he remarked. “Yes, we lost 4-1, but I thought the group fought against the Celtics and just, unfortunately, we just couldn’t make shots when we had to, or we turned the ball over and they took full advantage of that.”

Boston thrived off the enthusiasm of the Garden crowd, never trailing and leading by as many as 26 points.

Before the Celtics ended the first quarter on a 12-3 surge that featured eight points apiece from Tatum and Brown, Dallas was within 16-15 early in the first.

When the Mavericks cut a 15-point lead to nine points in the second quarter, the Celtics repeated the feat. Payton Pritchard’s second half-court buzzer beater of the series gave Boston a 67-46 advantage at the half. Boston had closed the quarter with a 19-7 run that was finished off by the basket.

The Mavericks were outscored 22-4 by the Celtics in the final two minutes of the first and second quarters.

The Celtics did not turn back.

In TD Garden to honor the next wave of Celtics champions were Russell’s widow, Jeannine Russell, and his daughter, Karen Russell.

They witnessed Tatum and Brown, two current Celtics players, win their first rings. The 2013 transaction that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the 2008 champions, to Brooklyn gave Boston the draft picks it ultimately used to select Brown and Tatum third overall in the 2016 and 2017 NBA Drafts.

With a defense that ranked as the best in the league during the regular season and a Celtics squad that was based around making and taking a lot of 3-pointers, the All-Stars truly came into their own this season.

Together, the two have advanced to the Eastern Conference finals at least four times before.

This was their fifth deep playoff run together, and they had finally crossed the finish line.

Tatum and Brown found their offensive stride in Game 5, combining for 31 points and 11 assists in the first half after both of them had struggled at moments throughout the series.

It brought out every quality that makes Boston the most dangerous team in the NBA this postseason: dispersing teams, passing the ball, and playing stifling defense. and even breaking out of teeth, as Derrick White experienced after being struck by Dereck Lively II.

White declared, “I’ll lose all my teeth for a championship.”

And it completed an incredible run for the Celtics, who had previously lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals and were unable to make a comeback in the previous season following a Game 7 home loss to the Miami Heat in the conference finals.

That evening, Tatum swore he would never let such setbacks hurt again.

He was reminded of his accomplishments by his 6-year-old son, Deuce, while he stood above a sea of confetti on Monday night.

Tatum remarked, “He told me I was the best in the world.” “You’re damn right, I am,” I said.

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