Jayson Tatum delivered a dazzling 31-point performance as the Boston Celtics crushed the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 on Monday, clinching a record-breaking 18th NBA championship.

After a humbling 38-point defeat in Game 4, Boston rebounded with a commanding display, sealing a 4-1 series victory at an electrifying TD Garden.

Tatum led the charge, excelling on both ends of the court, as the Celtics surged past their archrival Los Angeles Lakers to stand alone with 18 NBA titles. The emphatic win came 16 years to the day after Boston’s last NBA Finals win – over the Lakers – in 2008.

“Oh my God. It’s a surreal feeling. We did it,” a jubilant Tatum exclaimed after the triumph. “We did it – oh my God, we did it! First of all, God is the greatest, not because we won, but for putting me in positions to maximize my God-given ability to surround me with these guys and with my family. This is an incredible feeling. I’m lost for words. I’m sorry.”

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum walks off the court with the trophy as he celebrates winning the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., June 17, 2024. (Reuters Photo)

Jaylen Brown, who was named Finals MVP, supported Tatum with 21 points, while Jrue Holiday added 15 and Derrick White 14.

The defeat marked a miserable end to the finals for Dallas duo Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, who had led the Western Conference fifth seeds on an improbable giant-killing journey to the NBA Finals. Doncic, sensational during the Mavs’ Game 4 rout of the Celtics, finished with 28 points.

But Irving scored a meager 15 points while being taunted with chants of “Kyrie sucks!” by Celtics fans still rankled by his departure from the team in 2019.

Top-seeded Boston reasserted their superiority in convincing fashion after their Game 4 blowout, leading by double digits from late in the second quarter until the final buzzer.

The Celtics laid the foundation for victory with a controlled first-half performance that saw them open up a 67-46 lead at the break. Payton Pritchard put the seal on a superb first two quarters for Boston, launching a mammoth buzzer-beating three-pointer from near halfway that gave the Celtics a 21-point advantage.

Boston swiftly found their groove early on, building a 9-2 advantage in the first quarter, with their swarming defense never allowing Dallas to build any kind of rhythm.

After Boston took a 13-5 advantage, the Mavs rallied to narrow the gap to two points at 17-15, but Boston’s defense reclaimed the initiative soon afterward.

Two quick steals from Tatum and Sam Hauser allowed the Celtics to pull away to 28-18 at the end of the first quarter.

Boston’s defense gave no respite to Irving and Doncic, restricting Dallas’s stars to just 14 points between them in the first quarter. By contrast, Tatum and Brown threatened to overrun the Mavs’ defense. There was no let-up from Boston after the restart, with Holiday’s cutting layup putting Boston 26 points clear at 78-52 early in the third quarter.

There were flickers of a Dallas recovery in the latter stages of the third quarter, but Boston remained in control to lead by 19 heading into the final period. With the TD Garden crowd roaring them on, there was never any chance the Celtics would be denied. Boston continued to find mismatches to score freely and retained a comfortable double-digit advantage to close out the win.

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