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NBA Finals: Celtics Win Record 18th NBA Championship

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Boston Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, 106-88, to win their record 18th NBA championship, passing their old rivals the Los Angeles Lakers. The victory came exactly 16 years after the Celtics last won the NBA title, back in 2008.

Jayson Tatum led Boston in scoring with 31 points on 11 of 24 shooting to go with 11 assists, eight rebounds and two steals. Jaylen Brown added 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Jrue Holiday scored 15 and Derrick White 14. Al Horford was the only Boston starter to miss out on double digit points, ending with 9 points on 6 attempts.

Kristaps Porzingis didn’t get much playing time but wasn’t required to put in big minutes with his team in control most of the way. He ended up only playing just 16 minutes for 5 points.

For Dallas, Doncic once again shouldered the scoring burden with 28 points on 12-25 shooting. He also had 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals but gave up 7 turnovers. Irving’s ordinary series continued, as he managed only 15 points on 5-16 from the floor but tried to become a facilitator with nine assists. Josh Green added 14 points off the bench on 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.

Overall, Dallas actually shot a higher percentage from the field than Boston, finishing 44.9% compared to the Celtics’ 42.7%. The difference however came from the free throw line and on the boards. Boston went 17-20 from the charity stripe, while Dallas scored just 7-13. They were also outrebounded 51-35 and gave up 6 more turnovers.

Many expected a hard-fought series between the Celtics and Mavericks but in the end Boston took the Finals with relative ease. Their only hiccup was Game 4 in Dallas, where they had one of the franchise’s worst losses in playoff history, getting blown out by 38 points. Before that loss, Boston had won 10 postseason games in a row, which included a sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Boston has come agonizingly close to winning the championship in recent years but haven’t quite been able to cross the finish line up until this season. They were beaten in the NBA finals two years ago by the Golden State Warriors and had lost in the conference finals in four of the last eight seasons.

Game 5 Summary

Boston came out the gate strong, moving the ball well on offense and being extremely stingy on the defensive end. Dallas, however, was able to stay close early on thanks to multiple three-pointers by Josh Green, who was a huge lift off the Mavericks bench. Unfortunately for Dallas, the spurt didn’t last and Boston went on a 9-0 run to end the first quarter with the score on 28-18.

The Mavericks stayed in striking distance in the second but once again a late 12-3 run by Boston towards the end of the quarter pushed the lead back up to 18. A late buzzer-beating three from Payton Pritchard then increased the lead to 21 heading into the break. Jayson Tatum had 16 at the half, while Brown had 15 and Holiday 11. Both Doncic and Irving were held to under 10 points in the first half.

Dallas tried to make it interesting in the second half but the Celtics didn’t let up. Instead of waiting for victory to come to them, the Celtics attacked the boards and continued to make life difficult for Dallas on the offense. The Mavericks did end up outsourcing the Celtics 21-19 in the quarter but could only bring the lead down to 19 heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter was more of the same for Boston, cramping the Dallas players for room and making timely shots to keep the lead well into double digits. In the end, the Mavericks never really came close to pulling off a comeback and the Celtics lifted the trophy with only 3 losses all postseason.

Jaylen Brown was deservedly named Finals MVP after the game, after leading his team to big victories in the first few games of the series.