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Celtics Run Away From Mavericks, Secure A Record 18th NBA Championshi

Superstar Jason Tatum holds championship trophy as the Boston Celtics win their 18th title.

     Boston stands alone atop the NBA with 18 championship banners, its latest capping a dominant season by blowing past Dallas in five games.

Jayson Tatum celebrates during the Boston Celtics’ Game 5 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Monday. The Celtics clinched their NBA record 18th championship. (Elsa/Getty Images)

     BOSTON — The Boston Celtics saw 16 years of accumulated playoff pressure lifted in one glorious instant.

     For the first four games of the NBA Finals, the Celtics couldn’t dial in their three-point offense. Open shots rimmed off; contested shots completely missed the rim. But shortly before halftime of Monday’s Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks, backup guard Payton Pritchard pulled up from behind midcourt and swished in a buzzer-beating heave.

     Pritchard had made little impact in the series, save for a similar heave in Game 2. When he stepped into his latest prayer, the TD Garden crowd rose in anticipation and then roared its approval. The Celtics, certain now that the night and season belonged to them, ran away from the Mavericks with a 106-88 victory to secure their record-setting 18th championship, breaking a tie with the Lakers, their chief rival.

      The title is Boston’s first since 2008 following Finals losses in 2010 and 2022. Jaylen Brown was named Finals MVP, receiving seven of the 11 media votes to beat out Jayson Tatum.

“I can’t even put into words the emotions,” Brown said. “I’m blessed and I’m grateful. My teammates were great. They allowed me to lead us on both ends of ball, and we just came out and performed on our home floor. [Finals MVP] could have gone to anybody. It could have gone to Jayson. I can’t talk enough about his selflessness and attitude. We did it together as a team, and that was the most important thing.”

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