‘Partners in crime’ Brown and Tatum lift Celtics to record 18th NBA title

After a 16-year drought, the Boston Celtics stormed to victory in the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (center) holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy as he celebrates with the team after they won the NBA Finals 2024.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (center) holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy as he celebrates with the team after they won the NBA Finals 2024.(Photo | AP)

One of the greatest seasons for the Boston Celtics came to an end after they won their record 18th title, defeating the Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving-led Dallas Mavericks in game five of the NBA Finals on Monday night.

Fans in TD Garden, the home court for the Celtics, erupted after the team won their first title since 2008, going past the Los Angeles Lakers with whom they were level at 17. 

After the Celtics were up by 10 points in the first quarter, they never surrendered their lead. The entire team set the tone with their precision team-play and relentless defence that stopped the Mavericks from taking the lead at any point in the game despite several attempts to close down the gap.

“It means the world,” said Jayson Tatum as the Celtics star lifted the trophy for the first time. “It’s been a long time. And I’m damn grateful.” While he scored 31 points and 11 assists, it was Jaylen Brown who won the Finals MVP award with his 21 points and eight rebounds adding to the 106-88 win.

“I share this with my brothers and my partner in crime Jayson Tatum,” Brown said with the Finals MVP trophy in hand. The duo has been the dominant force for the champions, driving the team into the playoffs with 64 wins in the regular season.

And what a dominating push in the playoffs it has been for the Celtics!

They defeated the injury-stricken Miami Heat in five games in round one of the Eastern Conference. A similar fate befell the Cleveland Cavaliers who succumbed to the Celtics’ defence in game five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They then went on to sweep the much-hyped Indiana Pacers in a four-game victory that set up the stage for them to glide through the NBA Finals.

On the other hand, the Dallas Mavericks somehow managed to stop the Celtics’ sweep by winning game four of the Finals in an impressive 122-84 blowout. However, no team leading 3-0 in the finals has ever lost the series. And winning four games in a row against undoubtedly the best team this season is no joke. The only time something like this happened was in 2016 when the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors after the latter was up 3-1 in the finals.

Irving was a crucial part of that championship run by the Cavaliers – and of the Mavericks’ run to the NBA Finals this time. But both he and Doncic underperformed with 15 and 28 points respectively in game five. Irving admitted that the Celtics crowd had a “psychological edge” over him as they booed him for opting out of a contract with the team in 2019.

As Irving said, it was a “bitter” ending to a “really positive journey”. The Mavericks with their impressive run are definitely on the top title contenders list for years to come. But with Tatum and Brown just 26 and 27 respectively, the Celtics will be the team to beat as the duo seek to cement their legacy.

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