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

 Jayson Tatum recorded 31 points and 11 assists as the Boston Celtics locked up their league-record 18th championship with a 106-88 blowout of the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Tatum also had eight rebounds while Jaylen Brown added 21 points, eight boards, and six assists for Boston, which celebrated the 16th anniversary of its most recent title by completing a 16-3 playoff run.
The Celtics knocked off the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 Finals, and those two teams shared the league record with 17 championships apiece before Monday.
Jrue Holiday had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Derrick White chipped in 14 points as Boston wrapped up the best-of-seven series on its second opportunity.
Luka Doncic paced the Mavericks with 28 points and 12 boards, but he committed seven turnovers. Kyrie Irving finished with 15 points and nine assists for Dallas, and Josh Green netted 14 points.
After Dallas called a timeout with 3:11 left in the second quarter, trailing by 11 points, Boston completely broke the game open.
The Celtics scored 17 of the next 24 points, six of which came from Brown. Payton Pritchard capped the outburst in jaw-dropping fashion, canning a 49-foot heave from half-court at the buzzer to send Boston into the break with a 67-46 cushion.
Holiday's layup pushed the Celtics' lead to 78-52 with 9:10 to go in the third quarter. Green then converted a putback and knocked down a 3-pointer as part of a 10-2 run that got the Mavericks within 80-62.
Dallas later got the deficit down to 17, but Boston took an 86-67 lead into the fourth.
The Celtics were on top by at least 18 the rest of the way.
A three-point play from Tatum put the Celtics up 46-31 with 7:08 remaining in the first half, but Dallas then took over down low. The Mavericks scored all of their points in the paint during an 8-2 spurt to get within nine before Al Horford stemmed the tide with a hard-nosed layup.
Horford's bucket came just before the Mavericks' timeout that preceded Boston's game-changing run.
Boston came to life in the final 1:39 of the first quarter, ripping off nine unanswered points to take a 28-18 lead into the second.
The Celtics wound up shooting 42.7 percent from the floor. Dallas shot 44.9 percent overall but was outscored by 10 points at the foul line and committed 13 turnovers to Boston's nine.

 Short jumpers rolled off the rim and 3-pointers went in and out. Even free throws were a challenge for Luka Doncic in the clinching game of the NBA Finals.

Dallas needed Doncic and Kyrie Irving to be at their best in Game 5 against the Celtics on Monday night. Instead, the Mavericks’ best players got off to a terrible start, and by the time their shots started falling the Celtics were coasting to a 106-88 victory and an unprecedented 18th NBA title.

“It just wasn’t our night offensively,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said after his fifth-seeded team fell short of its second NBA title. “We’re a young team. We have a young core, and so this is an exciting time to be a Mavs fan and to also be a coach for the Mavs.”

Doncic missed his first six 3-point attempts and finished 12 of 25 from the floor. He scored 28 points — 10 of them in the fourth quarter when Dallas never got closer than 18 points. He had 12 rebounds but also turned the ball over seven times. He was 2 for 5 from the free throw line, a problem that has bothered him throughout the series.

“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Kidd said. “For him at the age of 25 to get to the finals, to be playing his basketball at the level that he’s playing — now it’s just being consistent.”

The Slovenian star said injuries — a bruised chest, and problems in his right knee and left ankle — weren’t the problem.

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

Irving was 3 for 9 from 3-point range and 5 of 16 overall while fending off boos and crude chants from his former fans every time he touched the ball. He had nine assists but 15 points -- six of them in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach.

“The crowds can chant whatever they want to chant. When we’re away, they’re obviously going to go against us,” Dallas guard Josh Green said. “He does a great job of not letting it affect him and I think that goes back to his leadership on and off the court.

“So we have nothing but respect for Kyrie. ... We all got his back, for sure.”

Irving and Doncic shared a hug at the end of the game.

“We said, ‘We’ll fight together next season,’ and we (are) just going to believe,” Doncic said. “I’m proud of every guy that stepped on the floor, all the coaches, all the people behind. Obviously, we didn’t win finals, but we did have a hell of a season and I’m proud of every one of them.”

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