Jayson Tatum, Celtics put away Mavs for record 18th title

One of the first to congratulate Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum on winning the NBA championship was his 6-year-old son. “He told me I was the best in the world,” Tatum said. “I replied, ‘You’re absolutely right I am.'”

Tatum certainly appeared so on Monday night, scoring 31 points and making 11 assists as Boston secured its league-record 18th title with a 106-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

After Dallas called a timeout with 3:11 left in the second quarter, trailing by 11 points, Boston completely took control of the game. The Celtics scored 17 of the next 24 points, with six coming from Brown. Payton Pritchard capped the surge in spectacular fashion, sinking a 49-foot shot from half court at the buzzer, sending Boston into the break with a 67-46 lead.

“Payton is one of the best competitors and one of my favourite people in the world,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “Just the way he competes, his professionalism, and his ability to take pride in moments like that. He’s really grown as a player this year, becoming well-rounded on both ends of the floor, and he has won us games.”

Holiday’s layup extended the Celtics’ lead to 78-52 with 9:10 left in the third quarter. Green then made a putback and hit a 3-pointer as part of a 10-2 run that brought the Mavericks within 80-62.

Dallas later reduced the deficit to 17, but Boston took an 86-67 lead into the fourth. The Celtics stayed ahead by at least 18 points for the rest of the game.

“It snowballed quickly. The turnovers led to easy baskets or wide-open threes (for the Celtics),” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “They took advantage of that, and we couldn’t keep scoring or keep pace with them. We got good looks that just didn’t go down for us.”

A three-point play from Tatum put the Celtics up 46-31 with 7:08 left in the first half, but Dallas then dominated inside. The Mavericks scored all their points in the paint during an 8-2 run to get within nine before Al Horford stopped the momentum with a tough layup.

Horford’s basket came just before the Mavericks’ timeout that preceded Boston’s game-changing run.

Boston came alive in the final 1:39 of the first quarter, scoring nine unanswered points to take a 28-18 lead into the second.

The Celtics ended up shooting 42.7 percent from the floor. Dallas shot 44.9 percent overall but was outscored by 10 points at the foul line, was outrebounded 51-35, and committed 13 turnovers to Boston’s nine.

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