NBA: A gala Tatum/Brown duo gives Boston an 18th title

NBA: A gala Tatum/Brown duo gives Boston an 18th title

Boston peut exulter : il remporte le 18e titre de son histoire. EPA – AMANDA SABGA

18e titre record pour Boston, triomphe de la génération Tatum/Brown. 

The Boston Celtics got the better of the Dallas Mavericks (4-1) in Massachusetts on Monday to win a record 18th NBA title, bringing the Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown duo into the rich history of the franchise. Head in his hands, a beatific smile, tears in his eyes, Jayson Tatum savored the last moments of a match dominated from start to finish (106-88) which made him go down in history of the NBA, and allows the Celtics to overtake the ancestral rivals of the Los Angeles Lakers (17 titles) and regain the leadership of the major NBA franchises.

Boston has indeed dressed teams in green that have remained in the memories, led by legends of the game, including the pioneer Bill Russell, winner of the first title in 1957 and ten other rings until 1969, John Havlicek (eight titles including the next two in 1974 and 1976), then Larry Bird (titles in 1981, 1984 and 1986) before slowing down in the era of the modern NBA.

The triumph of the “Jay” 

The trio Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce/Ray Allen had offered the last trophy in 2008 before the franchise with the clover began its recent reconstruction with two players N.3 of the draft: Jaylen Brown (27 years old) in 2016 and Jayson Tatum (26 years old) in 2017.

Being part of history

"Being part of Celtics history means having won a championship title", Tatum acknowledged during the finale, aware of his mission to achieve a new status. Both "Jay" now make up the face of the Celtics and lead a complete squad that has marched on the NBA this season, first during the regular season (64 wins – 18 losses, best record), then on occasion play-offs (16 wins – 3 losses).

Effective in the firmament

Skillful shooting, powerful approaching the circle and athletic defenders, the versatile Tatum and Brown combine all the qualities of the modern NBA player. Brown signed the juiciest contract in the history of the league last year ($304 million over 5 years), while Tatum's rookie extension ($163 million over 5 years) ends next summer, figures which speak of the importance of the two champions.

Around them, the franchise has patiently assembled a complete group, bringing last summer the last two missing pieces to the puzzle, with Jrue Holiday, a formidable defender already crowned with Milwaukee in 2021, and the Latvian pivot Kristaps Porzingis, a rare alloy of size (2.18 m) and address with a nevertheless fragile physique. Boston had previously taken the winning risk of entrusting its team in 2022 to the young and unknown Joe Mazzulla (who will celebrate his 36th birthday on June 30), obsessive game theorist, admirer and friend of the Spaniard Pep Guardiola, another great brain of world sport.

Mazzulla and his theory of continuous play and permanent counter-attacks has built a team with almost no weaknesses, with a complete major five capable of shooting from afar, getting closer to the circle, and changing position in defense without altering its performance.

Rebound after 2022

Boston, for example, was able to contain in the final two of the most flamboyant attackers in world basketball, the Slovenian Luka Doncic and the American Kyrie Irving, powerless against the Boston collective. More than in bodies, it is in minds that Boston has been able to progress after experiencing two major setbacks in the last two seasons.

In 2022, the Celtics led 2-1 in the final against the Golden State Warriors before falling to Stephen Curry's Vista (4-2). Last year, already big favorites, they suffered the law of the underdog Miami and Jimmy Butler in the Eastern Conference final (4-3). Like its season without much fear, Boston crushed Dallas on Monday, flying away at the end of the first quarter (28-18) never to be seen again, with 31 points from Tatum , facing Doncic's 28 points.

Shadow hero, Prayton Pritchard once again scored a basket at the buzzer of the 2nd quarter from midfield, a habit for him, which made him drunk with joy TD Garden, a little taste of the post-match celebrations on the floor.

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