Celtics win a new NBA ring by beating the Mavericks

BOSTON.- Jayson Tatum placed his hands behind his head, with fans at TD Garden standing around him in celebration, and took it all in. Walking to the bench, he hugged the team’s coach. Celtics Joe Mazzulla. The journey was completed. The Boston Celtics have once again been left alone as the kings of the NBA.

Tatum had 31 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds as the Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 on Monday, winning the franchise’s 18th championship in its history. Boston broke the tie with the Los Angeles Lakers to become the most successful team in league history.

Boston captured its most recent title on the 16th anniversary of the last time it hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2008. It is the 13th championship won this century by one of the city’s big four sports franchises.

“It means everything,” Tatum said onstage after the team received the trophy from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “A lot of time has passed. And damn, I’m grateful.”

Jaylen Brown added 21 points and was voted Finals MVP, while Jrue Holiday finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Center Kristaps Porzingis also provided an emotional boost, returning from a two-game absence caused by a dislocated tendon in his left ankle to contribute five points in 17 minutes.

“I share this with my brothers and my partner in crime Jayson Tatum,” Brown said after the 107th playoff game he and Tatum played together, the most for any duo before winning a title.

He helped the Celtics cap a postseason in which they went 16-3 and finished with an 80-21 overall record. That .792 winning percentage ranks second in team history, trailing only the 1985-86 championship-winning version, which finished 82-18 (.820).

In his second season, Mazzulla, at age 35, became the youngest since Bill Russell in 1969 to lead a team to a championship.

“In life you have very few opportunities to be great,” Mazzulla said.

In addition, center Al Horford contributed with nine points and nine rebounds as he became the first player from the Dominican Republic to become an NBA champion.

Luka Doncic finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas, which failed to extend the series after avoiding a sweep with a 38-point victory in Game 4. The Mavericks were 3-0 in Games 5 this postseason, with Doncic scoring at minus 31 points in each of them. He said the chest, right knee and left ankle injuries he dealt with throughout the Finals were not an excuse for why Dallas suffered against the Celtics.

“It doesn’t matter if I was injured or how bad I was hurt. I was out there. I tried to play, but I didn’t do enough,” Doncic said.

Kyrie Irving finished with only 15 points by going 5 of 16 and has now lost 13 of the last 14 matchups against the Celtics, a team he left in the summer of 2019 to join the Brooklyn Nets.

Comfort in the future:

Irving thinks better things will come in the future for the Mavs.

“I see an opportunity for us to really build our future in a positive way, where this is almost a normal thing for us and we’re competing for championships,” he said.

NBA teams are now 0-157 in postseason series after falling behind 0-3.

Dallas coach Jason Kidd believes Doncic and his team will grow from this experience in the NBA Finals.

“I think the first step is just being there. I think that’s a big thing,” she said. “Yes, we lost 4-1, but I thought the group struggled against the Celtics and, unfortunately, we couldn’t get it right when we needed to, or we turned the ball over and they made the most of it.”

Boston never trailed and led by as many as 26 points, fueling the energy of the fans at the Garden.