The Boston Celtics are the NBA champions for the first time since 2008 after closing out the finals with a dominant win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5. 

It is the 18th title in the franchise’s storied history, once again putting the Celtics on top of the NBA tree after they were previously tied with the Los Angeles Lakers on 17.

Jaylen Brown was named the Finals MVP after averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and five assists a game.

Here are the five quick hits from these finals and another NBA season in the books.

1. Celtics cement status as one of the great single-season teams

Every team metric all season long has pointed to the Boston Celtics having an all-time season, and the finals victory has now confirmed that.

Having won Game 5, the Celtics end the season with a combined regular season and play-off record of 80-21 — good for a winning percentage of 79.2 per cent.

This ranks the Celtics equal 13th all-time in terms of greatest single seasons by winning percentage, tied with the 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers, who bizarrely didn’t even make the finals that year. 

Jaylen Brown lifts the NBA trophy

2024 NBA Finals MVP Jaylen Brown lifts the Larry O’Brien trophy after the Boston Celtics won the championship.(Getty Images: Adam Glanzman)

Of the 12 teams ranked above the Celtics, only the 2016 San Antonio Spurs (73-19) and the 2016 Golden State Warriors (88-18) wound up not winning the title in those respective years. 

Incredibly, this isn’t even the greatest Celtics team of all-time, with that honour still belonging to the Larry Bird-led 1986 Celtics, who went a combined 82-18 as they claimed the franchise’s 16th title.

The Celtics finished the play-offs with a record of 16-3, with the winning percentage of 84.2 per cent good for 10th all-time. The team with the greatest play-off record? The 2017 Golden State Warriors, who went 16-1 en-route to their title. 

Just an all-time great season. 

2. Patience rewarded as Brown and Tatum reach the mountaintop

The title was sweet vindication for Boston’s best two players — Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are also the two longest-tenured members of the team.

After drafting the pair in consecutive years, Boston has constantly faced pressure from the outside to flip either one or both for a more established star in a win-now trade. 

The Celtics were widely criticised for not moving on Kawhi Leonard when Leonard led Toronto to the title in 2019 just a year after being traded from San Antonio. At the time, it was believed Brown being sent the other way to the Spurs would’ve landed Leonard in Beantown, but Boston was not willing to trade Brown for a year of Leonard, who only ended up staying in Toronto for a single season before leaving for LA as a free agent, even after winning a title.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum share a high five

Jayson Tatum high fives Jaylen Brown during the second quarter of Game Five of the 2024 NBA Finals.(Getty Images: Elsa)

To their credit, the Celtics did not waver from their belief that the Brown-Tatum duo was a combination that would deliver the city of Boston a long-awaited NBA title. 

The pair has gone through their fair share of play-off disappointments over their seven seasons as teammates, with the most disappointing coming in the last two seasons where they were ousted in the finals in 2022 before being upset by a No.8 seed in last year’s conference finals. 

The 107 play-off games played by Tatum and Brown before winning a title is the most in NBA history.

In an era where teams are obsessed with quick-trigger moves, Boston’s win is more proof that longevity and staying the course still holds value in the NBA.

3. A team-building job for the ages by Brad Stevens

The Celtics appeared to be a franchise in disarray when they were bounced in the first round of the 2021 play-offs at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, in what proved to be Brad Stevens’s final series as coach.

Following that play-off exit, Stevens, widely considered to be one of the best coaches in the league, stepped aside to take a role in Boston’s front office instead, much to the surprise of the rest of the NBA.

Stevens was named the Celtics’ new president of basketball operations, replacing the retiring Danny Ainge (who has since resurfaced in Utah), and the move has been an inspired one. 

Brad Stevens and Jrue Holiday

Brad Stevens (right) made a transformational deal to acquire star guard Jrue Holiday (centre) in a trade last summer.(Getty Images: Jonathan Wiggs)

Stevens’s first transaction in the front office was to get back Al Horford in a trade that sent oft-injured and highly-paid guard Kemba Walker the other way, and the ageless Horford has been central to this title win, especially with the injury issues to Kristaps Porzingis.

Despite coaching most of the players on the roster, Stevens was not afraid to move on from players when he needed to in order to make the team better, with the most notable example of this being the decision to trade a player who many considered to be the team’s heart and soul, Marcus Smart, last summer in order to add Porzingis. 

Netting Derrick White, who has blossomed into one of the best two-way guards in the NBA, for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford a first-round pick and a pick swap is looking like one of the best deals in recent memory. 

Stevens capped off an incredible couple of seasons by somehow landing both Jrue Holiday (for Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams and two future first-round picks) and Porzingis in separate deals that vaulted the Celtics from being a really good team to an all-time team.

4. Luka Doncic experiences finals heartache for the first time

It is rare for any all-timer to claim a title at the very first time of asking, unless you’re Michael Jordan and you just never lose in the finals. 

These play-offs may have ended in disappointment for Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, but it shouldn’t take away from what was an unbelievable play-off run for the Slovenian superstar.

Doncic ends the play-offs having scored the most points of any player in the post-season as well as having the most rebounds and assists, and it’s not really been close. 

However, as brilliant as Doncic has been in the play-offs, the finals showed that there is still improvements to be made in his game if he’s to reach the promised land. 

Luka Doncic walking

Luka Doncic’s first trip to the NBA Finals ended in disappointment after being ousted by the Boston Celtics.(Getty Images: Mike Lawrie)

While Doncic is never going to be a chiselled athlete like Jaylen Brown is for example, his conditioning still leaves a lot to be desired at times as he labours up and down the court and often is the last man back on defence, particularly after a missed shot where he ends up on the floor. 

Doncic has also shown a petulant side where he works the referees for a full 48 minutes, and it’s no surprise that he and his teammates don’t get the best whistle as a result.

The good news if you’re a Mavs fan is that Doncic is still just 25 years old. Unless he gets injured, he’s sure to have many, many more deep play-off runs, and he’s simply too good for none of them to end with him holding the Larry O’Brien trophy aloft. 

It just wasn’t his turn yet. 

5. Kyrie’s redemption story has a sad ending

For so often during this play-off run, it seemed as if it was written in the stars for Kyrie Irving to end the season with his second title. 

After spending a few seasons looking like he was headed out of the league due to circumstances entirely in his control, Irving got back to doing what he does best this season — playing basketball. 

Irving has been one of the toughest players to assess in the league over the last few seasons due to all the off-court distractions that have simply clouded the fact that he is one of the best players in the league.

However, he seems to have found a home in Dallas, and it’s brought out the best side of him once again. 

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving wasn’t able to exact revenge on his old team in his first trip to the NBA Finals since 2017.(Getty Images: Danielle Parhizkaran)

Now 32, Irving is no longer the young buck that he was when he won his first title in Cleveland flanking LeBron James. 

The Mavs point guard has fully embraced his role as the team’s leader and old head and has done an excellent job of keeping his younger teammates steady throughout the post-season. 

Irving finished the play-offs second only to Doncic in points scored, emphasising what an excellent post season he enjoyed. Unfortunately for Irving, he managed just 15 points and nine assists in the series finale when Dallas needed a supernova performance.

The key now is to make sure that he continues being this positive leader. If he continues in this role, Dallas will be back here again.

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