Celtics capture 18th NBA championship with Game 5 win over Mavericks

Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum lifts the trophy after winning the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks Monday at TD Garden in Boston, Mass.

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are again champions of the NBA, having claimed a milestone title Monday night that will reverberate from coast to coast and carve out legacies for the current pillars of this storied franchise.

The Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals to win the series, 4-1, and claim a league-record 18th NBA championship. Boston ended a 16-year title drought and broke a tie with the rival Los Angeles Lakers that had stood since 2020.


Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics’ co-anchors since Tatum’s rookie year in 2017-18, can formally take their place among the Boston legends to hang banners before them. Tatum finished with 31 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, while Brown added 21 points.

Brown, who felt snubbed when he was not named to any of the three All-NBA teams this season, is now on a hot streak for hardware. On Monday, Brown won the Bill Russell Award for the NBA Finals MVP, which followed the MVP he won during the conference finals. Brown averaged 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, five assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks in this series.

Boston never trailed in the series clincher and led by 21 points at halftime, thanks to a 49-foot 3-pointer from Payton Pritchard launched just behind halfcourt to beat the second-quarter buzzer. The NBA’s best team all season, the Celtics won their 80th of 101 games by smashing Dallas on the glass (51 rebounds to 35) and scoring 10 more points at the foul line.

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis, out since Game 2 with a rare tendon displacement injury near his left ankle, returned for the clincher and scored five points. Jrue Holiday, who like Porzingis was added last offseason to fortify this already deep roster, contributed 15 points. He is a champion for the second time, having won in 2021 with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Tatum and Holiday are committed to playing for Team USA at the Paris Olympics, looking to win a gold medal in the same summer months following a title. Holiday accomplished that in 2021 when the Americans won gold in Tokyo.

The Mavericks, the No. 5 seed in the West with only two rotation players over the age of 27, were led in scoring by Luka Doncic with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Kyrie Irving, the former Celtic, suffered through a tough Game 5 with 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting which was worse than the box score indicated.

“(The Celtics are) a great team,” said Doncic, who played the series with a bruised chest and lower leg injuries. “They have been together for a long time, and they had to go through everything, so we just got to look at them, see how they play, maturity, and they have some great players. We can learn from that. We got to fight next season.”

Tatum and Brown have helped steer Boston to six conference finals and two NBA Finals and finally broke through Monday night.

They set an NBA record for playoff games played together (107) before winning a title. Tatum accumulated the fifth-most playoff points at the time of his first title, trailing only Jerry West, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant.

Al Horford, the Celtics’ 38-year-old center, set a record for the most playoff games (186) before his first title.

On the other end of the spectrum, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, 35, is the youngest coach since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976 to win a title. Mazzulla is the sixth coach to win at age 35 or younger and the first since Bill Russell in 1969.

The Celtics are the NBA’s first No. 1 overall seed heading into the postseason to win since the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the 2017 finals.

Boston also snapped its second-longest lapse between titles in franchise history. The longest was 22 seasons from 1986 to 2008 — the last of the Celtics’ titles until this one.

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