NBA Finals: Celtics top Mavericks, win record 18th championship

BOSTON — For the first time in 16 seasons, the Boston Celtics are NBA champions.

Boston won its record 18th NBA title on Monday night, crushing the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 at TD Garden to win the best-of-seven series 4-1. The victory allowed the Celtics to snap a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for most NBA titles at 17.

It also came 16 years to the day after Boston won its last NBA crown, on June 17, 2008. June 17 is also 617 Day, which recognizes Boston’s area code, WFXT-TV reported.

Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and Jaylen Brown added 21 points for the Celtics, who also got double-digit scoring from Jrue Holiday (15) and Derrick White (14).

Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 28 points. Kyrie Irving added 15.

Tatum, who added 11 assists and 8 rebounds, is the first Celtics player with 20 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds in a Finals game since Larry Bird in 1986.

The Celtics had opened a 3-0 series lead on Dallas, but the Mavericks avoided a sweep with a 122-84 victory on Friday in Dallas.

But the Mavericks were facing a daunting task. Teams trailing 3-0 in postseason series were 0-156 heading into Monday night, The Sporting News reported. Last year’s Celtics faced that mountainous climb and forced a Game 7 -- only the fourth team in NBA history to do so -- before losing to the Miami Heat in the deciding game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

On Monday night, the Celtics did not give Dallas a chance in Game 5.

Boston, charging back after the third-largest playoff loss in Finals history, outscored the Mavericks 28-18 in the first quarter on Monday and never looked back. The Celtics expanded their lead to 67-46, and by the end of the third quarter, the TD Garden fans were anticipating the 18th banner to be raised to the rafters of the arena.

Boston had the best record during the regular season and never trailed during the postseason, winning 15 of their first 17 games.

The Celtics’ last NBA title in 2008 was at the expense of the Lakers in six games, as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen led Boston to victory.

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