“I believe in him. “He believed in me and we did it together.”

BOSTON.- In 2008, the Celtics ended a 22-year championship drought led by the Big 3. Sixteen years later, they did it again following a performance by the dynamic duo.

When Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were selected third in a row in 2016 and 2017, they were almost immediately branded with the franchise's hopes of seriously chasing an 18th championship.

Along the way, they endured criticism of their individual play and questions about whether two players with similar abilities could coexist.

They answered those questions emphatically on Monday night, as the Celtics won Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 to capture the franchise's 18th championship, making it the most NBA champion ever.

“Getting drafted is something you dream about. But it's over the top,” Tatum said afterward. “We did it, and we were able to come together and win a championship. The 18th banner has been hanging over our heads all these years. Knowing that we are going to go down in history, but not yet. “I'm still trying to process it all.”

Tatum and Brown captured their first Larry O'Brien Trophy after 107 playoff games, the most by any duo before winning a title.

It took longer than expected, but Tatum said it was part of a process he didn't fully understand until the postgame celebration.

“Short and failed makes this moment so special,” he said. “Because you know what it's like to lose. You know what it's like to be on the other side of this, to be in the locker room and hear the other teammates celebrate and hear them celebrate on your own court. “It was devastating.”

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Tatum finished with 31 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in Monday's win. It was the third-most points scored by a Celtics player in a Finals game behind John Havlicek (40 vs. Lakers, 1968) and Tommy Heinsohn (37 vs. Hawks, 1957).

Brown had 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists. But he earned Finals MVP honors after a 30-point performance in Game 3 that gave the Celtics a 3-0 lead.
“It could have gone to Jayson,” Brown said of the MVP award. “Jason, I can't say enough about your selflessness.

I cannot speak highly enough of his attitude. That's how he approached not just this series or the Finals, but the playoffs in general. We did it together as a team and that was the most important thing.

Brown and Tatum's journey includes at least five trips to the conference finals, as well as a series loss in the 2022 Finals to the Golden State Warriors in which Boston led 2-1.

However, the Celtics franchise continued to grow around him, including the failed free-agent acquisitions of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward and shakeups that included changes to the core of the 2022 Finals team. Sixth in the NBA. Malcolm Brockton is Man of the Year.

A hint

Porzingis will undergo surgery
Center Kristaps Porzingis needs surgery on an injured foot that cost him part of the NBA Finals and will need “a few months” to recover, he told ESPN. The medial retinaculum is torn, allowing displacement of the posterior tibial ligament.

Wilmot Chandler

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