The Boston Celtics Touch the NBA Sky with Their 18th Championship Title

Boston Celtics wins NBA championship 2024
Boston Celtics with NBA trophy (Credit: Getty Images)

Green burst of happiness in Boston. The Celtics will raise one more banner at the TD Garden along with the other 17 that proclaim them “world champions” for having won the NBA title on so many other occasions. The team led by Joe Mazzulla won (106-88) the fifth and final game of the finals against the Dallas Mavericks, with which they closed the series 4-1. The Celtics return to the top for the first time since 2008, closing a period of failures and disappointments in a city with a special passion for basketball. With the 18th title, they put themselves ahead of the Lakers in the historic career of the two eternal rivals. He is the sixth different champion in six years, which gives an idea of ​​the equality that has been established in the NBA. For the Luka Doncic-led Mavericks, it’s a huge missed opportunity.

Also Read: The Business Behind Luka Doncic’s NBA Success

This Monday’s game ended at half-time. Almost without time, at the buzzer, Payton Pritchard hit a triple from his own field that put the score at 67-46 to the delirium of the green tide that packed the TD Garden. A burst of euphoria thundered through the pavilion. At half-time, a collective chill ran through the venue at the imminent title. Never in the 157 occasions in which a team that has started a seven-game NBA playoff or final 3-0 has it let it slip away. After that stratospheric triple, the players continued playing, dribbling the ball, passing it, shooting, and rebounding, with greater or lesser success, but the game was over. The NBA Finals were over.

The Celtics now have 18 as the Lakers (the latter first in Minnesota and then in Los Angeles) have 17 NBA champion titles. However, since Larry Bird’s third ring, in 1986, the Celtics had only won the 2008 trophy, while their eternal rivals had won eight. Although many of Boston’s NBA titles are in black and white, they are now the champions. They also aspire to a period of hegemony with a seamless bloc.

Only the last title, the 2008 final against Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol’s Lakers, had been held in the current pavilion. All of the previous ones came from the time of the old Boston Garden, on the land next to the current TD Garden, on whose site today a skyscraper with a shopping center, offices, and homes stands.

The Celtics are recovering from the disappointment of two years ago when Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors won the title in Game 6 of the series in Boston. The backbone of that team remains, with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and Al Horford, plus substitutes Sam Hauser, Payton Pritchard, and Luke Kornet. Tatum, Brown, and White are in their best moment and Horford remains in surprisingly good shape at 38 years old, but two key pieces have also been added to the team this season: Jrue Holiday, who has strengthened the defense and was already a champion with the Bucks, and Kristaps Porziņģis, who when injuries allow it gives the Celtics’ game power under the rims and versatility in attack. The Celtics have been the best in the regular season and in the playoffs. Joe Mazzulla becomes the youngest coach to be crowned champion since the legendary Bill Russell in 1969.

Clear superiority

Despite the beating they suffered in Dallas in Game 4, the Celtics have clearly shown themselves superior in the finals. They started with a blow of authority at home, followed by two other slightly closer victories, before their great little debacle in Dallas last Friday. Beyond the fact that the Mavericks played a great game that day, given what happened this Monday, it seems that the subconscious was asking the Celtics to reserve themselves to win in Boston, in front of their passionate fans. The fifth game was, in fact, the green reverse of the previous one, with the hosts outperforming their rivals in all facets of the game.

They have been finals won in both rings, but particularly in defense. Every time the Celtics have managed to keep Dallas under 100 on the scoreboard, they have won the game. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla insists that the game is connected, that defense and attack are more interrelated than it seems, a lesson he says he learned from Spanish Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The truth, however, is that beyond the transitions, Boston’s defense is static, with a collective physical display led by Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown.

That defense kept the NBA’s most prolific duo, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, to just 14 points between them at the end of the first half of Monday’s game. It took the Mavericks three minutes this Monday to score their first basket and another two to achieve the second. The Celtics took the lead in the first minute, escaped 9-2 to start, and did not give up the lead in the 48 minutes of the game.

Jaylen Brown, the best of the finals

The Celtics have also been crowned champions, with a more collective game than ever. They have their two main stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but it is not clear who is more than the other. The fans chanted for both of them this Monday MVP, a title that only one could receive. The one chosen as the best player in the finals was rightly Jaylen Brown, who deserved it for his contribution both in attack and defense. They have been joined by two other All-Star level players: the Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, the champion point guard with the Bucks.

On offense, Tatum, Brown, Holiday, and White shared the scoring role this Monday. The game was defined by rebounds, steals, and success in three-pointers, which the Celtics had not found in the first three games.

There was a moment when this Monday’s game could have been something else. With less than two minutes left in the first quarter, the Dallas team got closer to 19-18 and it seemed that the quarter was going to end evenly, but a final sprint by the Celtics allowed them to gain a 10-point lead (28-18). before entering the second quarter, in which the same tone was maintained.

With a basket plus an additional shot by Jayson Tatum that made the score 46-31 with seven minutes left before the break, a feeling of inevitability began to set in, especially after Luka Doncic, who was experiencing a black night, missed two free throws on the next play. The Slovenian and Kyrie Irving had only scored 5 points each with 17 minutes of play elapsed, thanks in large part to the aggressive defense of Holiday and Brown. Those from Dallas had a small reaction that put them within 9 points with four and a half minutes left before halftime, but it was an illusion. The Celtics hit the accelerator and led by 21 at halftime thanks to Pritchard’s three-pointer from his own half.

The second half served to maintain distance and, given the confirmation of the inevitable, Joe Mazzulla replaced his players one by one as a tribute. Later came the shower of confetti, the presentation of trophies, the party, and the celebration. Although the final result was different (106-88), the game ended with that triple.

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