NBA finals 2024 Game 5: Boston Celtics beat Dallas Mavericks to win title – as it happened | NBA finals

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That’s a wrap. What a season for Boston.

It’s tough to imagine anyone surpassing the Celtics in the East. But the West may be wide open. The Mavericks are outstanding, but they were only fifth in the conference this season, behind Oklahoma City, Denver, Minnesota and the LA Clippers. The Lakers are always a destination team for free agents, and New Orleans may be poised for a breakthrough.

Before that, the Olympics. See you then.


Al Horford has played 186 playoff games. He’s a champion for the first time. He gets some air time.

“This is just how I saw it, eight years ago!” he yells, referring to his first signing with the Celtics.

Porzingis is asked how he managed to play tonight despite his injury. He jokes that he doesn’t know but thanks the medical staff.

How could you play tonight, he’s asked?

“How could I not?”

Over to Jrue Holiday, who won a title with Milwaukee a few years ago and is married to someone with a few trophies, soccer Hall of Famer Lauren Holiday. He’ll treasure this one because of his teammates.

Over to Derrick White, nursing some chipped teeth from a collision with the floor.

“I’ll lose all my teeth for a championship,” White cracks.


Coach Joe Mazzulla speaks. He’s younger than Al Horford.

Finally, the MVP award, which is named after Bill Russell. Adam Silver comes up to hand it to a fellow Dukie …

NO! It’s Jaylen Brown! A bit surprising, especially given Jayson Tatum’s dominance in Game 5. But Brown had 30 points and 8 assists in Game 3, and he shot better than 50% in the first three games. He disappeared in Game 4, but who didn’t?

“I share this with my brothers and my partner in crime, Jayson Tatum. He was with me the whole way.”


NBA commissioner Adam Silver comes out and awkwardly gets through his prepared remarks. He definitely had a higher GPA than I did at Duke.

The MVP award goes to …

… well, wait, we have to talk with people from ownership.


We have a game report …

We still don’t have an MVP announcement.


Will this be a dynasty?

Let’s look at the contracts

Holiday is their highest-paid player this year, and he’s locked up through 2028. Jaylen Brown’s salary ratchets upward next year and keeps going up and up through 2029.

Every player who saw significant time in the Finals is set for next season other than Xavier Tillman, who played a bit while Porzingis was out. At the end of next season, they could lose White, Hauser and surely Horford.

The big questions will come before summer 2026, when Tatum and Porzingis will have finished their current contracts.


Tatum is interviewed. He can’t find words. He finally yells, “WE DID IT!”

He probably had a higher GPA than I had at Duke.

How’d you bounce back from Game 4?

“We responded all year, and this was no different. We owed our fans.”

And their critics?

“What they gonna say now?!” He repeats for emphasis. “What they gonna say now?!!”


Boston wins the NBA championship

Tatum is bent over and sobbing in the last minute.

For what it’s worth, Dallas outscored Boston in the third (21-19) and fourth (21-20) quarters.

But the Celtics are clearly the best team in basketball. As fun as it is to see the occasional upset, it’s also rewarding to see regular-season greatness translate into championships, especially when it’s been a long time coming.

One of Tatum’s kids finds him as he’s bent over in a flurry of graffiti, and Boston’s superstar sweeps him up in his arms. His burden is lifted.


Mavericks 88-106 Celtics, 1:09 left, 4th quarter

The substitutions and ovations have started. Luke Kornet replaces Al Horford, who raises his arms. At age 38, Horford will be a first-time NBA champion.

Boston lets the shot clock run down, and then Pritchard and Hauser replace Brown and Tatum. The hugs, the ovations, the tears … here we go.


Mavericks 86-106 Celtics, 2:02 left, 4th quarter

Boston successfully challenged an out-of-bounds call. They’ll have possession with 2:37 left.

Dallas has pulled Dončić and Irving.


Mavericks 85-106 Celtics, 2:37 left, 4th quarter

The Celtics kill a bit of time before Tatum misses.

James F write: “How much does the guardian pay you to do this? Tapping a couple keys every ten minutes? Seems chill.”

I should really learn to type one day.

Timeout Boston.


Mavericks 85-106 Celtics, 3:10 left, 4th quarter

How did Brown miss that? No matter. Tatum cleans it up and hits two free throws. He’s two rebounds away from a triple-double, though I doubt that’s on his mind.

Dončić has really come alive when it’s too late. He drives as fluidly as he has all season and scores.

Brown’s layup just rolls off, but he’s fouled. He hits both.

Then … a Dallas rally! Irving hits from long range. Holiday turns it over to Dončić, who feeds Washington. Boston calls timeout. The Mavericks have cut the lead to … oh. It’s still 21.


Mavericks 78-102 Celtics, 4:39 left, 4th quarter

Tatum drives through traffic to push Boston to the 100-point mark. He has 27 of those points.

Make it 29 on another drive after a steal by White.

Timeout Dallas.


Mavericks 78-98 Celtics, 5:47 left, 4th quarter

Dončić hits his first 3-pointer at last.

White hits at the other end.

Dončić scores on a nice drive. He has 23.

Tatum makes a sweet post move, scores and is fouled. He’s about to have a trophy. Or two.

Irving hits a 3. Tatum hits an impossible turnaround fadeaway jumper to keep the lead over 20.

Green and Irving miss. Hardaway fouls Brown, who hits both free throws.

Dončić hits another 3. Impressive, but they still need 20 more points in six minutes.


Barring a miracle comeback, we’ll be crowning a champion and a Finals MVP tonight. Who gets the latter? Tatum hasn’t been spectacular in each game, but whether it’s scoring or passing, he has led the way in most games somehow. You could maybe make a case for Brown or White.


Mavericks 67-88 Celtics, 9:08 left, 4th quarter

Porzingis dunk! Nearly 3 minutes in, those are the first points of the quarter.

Dallas calls timeout. The crowd feels it.


Mavericks 67-86 Celtics, 9:58 left, 4th quarter

Porzingis is back in. He hasn’t been a factor yet, but will he make some noise before this is done? He starts the quarter with a brick, but then he grabs a rebound at the other end after White somehow stops Lively at the rim.

The Celtics get a shot clock violation after an airball and a scramble for the loose ball.

Porzingis! Big block on Jones.

Through two minutes of the fourth quarter, neither team has scored.


Mavericks 67-86 Celtics, end 3rd quarter

More misses – the Celtics have gone ice-cold. They’re keeping the margin large through defense and rebounding.

Dante Exum hits one of two free throws.

Celtics finally break their drought, and it’s who else but … Hauser!

And then Brown. The lead is over 20 again.

Green misses a dunk for Dallas.

Dončić has missed all seven 3-point attempts.

Tatum misses a 3, but Holiday gets the rebound.

Dončić beats Hauser to score with 23 seconds left in the quarter, and the Celtics barely even try to score before the buzzer, with Brown releasing a shot a hair too late.

Boston scored 39 in the second quarter, then 19 in the third. But Dallas needs a ton.


Mavericks 64-82 Celtics, 4:05 left, 3rd quarter

Both teams come back cold from the timeout, with Green’s putback for Dallas the only shot of the first bunch to fall.

Irving hits a smooth jumper.

Dončić has missed all five 3-point attempts. His critics are a little unfair, just as Tatum’s are.

Boston can’t hit anything. Green hits another 3 – he’s 4-for-4 from behind the arc – to cut the lead to 19.

Holiday ends the drought. Dončić goes back to work against Porzingis, scores and draws a foul.

Tim Hardaway Jr. makes his first appearance of the night for Dallas.

Lively blocks Brown’s dunk attempt. But Boston gets a turnover, and Tatum draws a foul in transition. He hits both free throws.

Irving misses again. Tatum misses again. Good players take a lot of shots, don’t they?

Dončić scores to cut the lead to 18, and the Celtics have seen enough. Timeout.


Mavericks 52-78 Celtics, 9:10 left, 3rd quarter

Dončić opens the second-half scoring, backing into the lane and hitting a turnaround jumper.

Tatum drives and passes out to Holiday, who drives in from the sideline. The Dallas defense forgets about Tatum, who takes a return pass from Holiday and dunks.

White knocks down a 3. The lead is 24.

Gafford hits a layup, but the wise old veteran Horford sets up shop in the corner, takes a feed from Brown, and hits a 3. The lead is 25.

Holiday fouls Irving. At least, the officials say so. Replay shows nothing of the sort. Irving hits both free throws.

Horford draws a foul from Lively and hits one of two. But White gets the long rebound on the second, they work the ball to Brown, and Brown hands off to Holiday as he streaks by for the layup.

Timeout Dallas. It’s slipping away.


No, it’s not over

Quick reminder of Game 3:

11:07 remaining: Celtics lead by 21 (same lead they have now)

6:11 remaining: Celtics lead by 3.

3:37 remaining: Celtics lead by 1.

Can’t happen again, right?


A few halftime numbers …

Tatum has 16 points and 9 assists. He isn’t wasting a lot of shots, either – he’s now 6-for-11 after a slow start.

Brown has 15 points. Holiday has 11.

Rebounding? 23-16, Celtics. The Mavs have hit a solid 48.7% of their shots, but they have only three offensive rebounds.

Turnovers? Dallas has 8 to Boston’s 2.

One small thing to note, just in case: Tatum, Brown, Dončić and Irving each have two fouls.


Mavericks 46-67 Celtics, halftime

Remember Game 2, at the end of the third quarter, when Payton Pritchard took the inbounds pass, covered more than half the court in a couple of seconds and put up a long buzzer-beater that went in?

Can you guess why I’m asking?

Horford gets the rebound off the missed Dallas free throw and gets it to Pritchard, who gets to midcourt and let’s fly.

It’s good.

Boston is 24 minutes away from its 18th title and first in a couple of decades.


Mavericks 46-64 Celtics, 3.0 left, 2nd quarter

Tatum comes back and immediately picks up his eighth assist on a dish to Holiday.

Mavericks lose the ball in a scramble, and Brown scores in transition. The bad news for the Celtics: Derrick White landed hard on his mouth and is checking his dental work.

Green and Brown trade 3s.

Irving misses. White hits a long 2. Guess he’s feeling better.

Dončić finally scores again. That’s 7 for him.

Irving leaps into the stands to save a ball heading out of play, landing on the ABC commentary crew. It’s an impressive effort, but the Celtics gain possession, and Dončić picks up a foul. That’s 2.

Tatum looks like he’s about to drive again. Instead, he pulls up and hits a 3. The lead is 20.

Dončić responds by driving on Tatum, scoring and picking up a phantom foul. He misses the free throw.

And then …


Mavericks 39-50 Celtics, 3:11 left, 2nd quarter

Tatum gets a break out of the timeout, and Boston misses three shots on one possession.

Washington turns it over, but Brown misses. Four in a row missed from the timeout.

Dončić misses. Boston breaks its mini-drought as Horford decides he’s had enough of these young guys, and he drives at Gafford and lays it in.

Turnover Dallas. Timeout Dallas.


Mavericks 39-48 Celtics, 4:53 left, 2nd quarter

Want high scoring? Check out what West Indies are doing against Afghanistan. They’ve posted a 36-run over. And there was a dot ball in the middle of it.

Back in sports in which a World Cup quarterfinal appearance is the minimum expectation for the US rather than a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, Dončić misses two free throws. Dončić is also 2-for-7 from the field, as is Irving.

Both teams miss a bit more, but Dallas scores on a … wait for it … alley-oop dunk. Washington to Gafford this time.

Boston has gone to a small lineup again. That was a disaster in Game 4. Right on cue, Gafford gets another dunk.

Fortunately for them, Hauser is playing big – he grabs a rebound and feeds Tatum.

But Washington and Jones score on either side of a Holiday miss. The lead is back down to single digits, and Boston calls timeout.


Mavericks 31-46 Celtics, 6:56 left, 2nd quarter

Jones hit a 3. Tatum drives and scores – he now has 8 points to go with his 7 assists.

Brown fouls Jones, who hits one of two free throws.

Tatum isn’t messing around with jumpers tonight. He drives, scores and gets the foul on Kleber, who’ll depart from the game in favor of Washington. Tatum adds the free throw, then fouls at the other end. Celtics call timeout.


Updated at 

Mavericks 27-41 Celtics, 7:56 left, 2nd quarter

Jones opens the second-half scoring with a layup, but Hauser puts up a 3-point shot that rattles in the rim and falls through.

Irving finally scores.

Tatum occupies the defense and flips it to Brown for a 3. That’s 6 assists for Tatum.

Don’t ask about the shots each team put up in the minute or so after that.

Also of interest – Washington grabs Porzingis from behind by both shoulders and flings him to the floor. The big man isn’t happy. He answers by scoring.

Kleber scores for Dallas.

Irving fouls Tatum on the mismatch. That’s two on Irving. Tatum makes both free throws, but Irving gets revenge by hitting a 3.

Game 2 hero Holiday, though, is on fire. He hits a 3.


Dallas dominated the rebounding department in Game 4. Tonight, Boston has a 13-9 edge. And that’s not attributable to the return of Porzingis, who has none.

The Mavericks’ starters have 7 points. The bench has 11.

All of the Mavericks have negative plus/minuses except Lively, who’s +7.

Tatum is shooting 2-for-7 but is on pace for a triple-double with 3 rebounds and 4 assists.


Updated at 

Mavericks 18-28 Celtics, end 1st quarter

Out of the timeout, White misses. Dončić pulls up for a fadeaway over Hauser and hits. The lead is one.

Porzingis gets clobbered inside. He’ll go to the line. Misses one. Makes the second.

A couple more misses, and then we have that rarest of NBA occasions – an offensive foul. This one’s on Dereck Lively, and it’s a bit of an obvious moving screen.

Brown misses, but Holiday gathers the rebound and Tatum makes his first shot of the night on a couple of circus moves in the lane.

Dante Exum, who has been strong off the bench for Dallas, answers with a 3.

Remember how Boston hadn’t had any dunks that I could recall? They just got one, with Holiday flipping the ball to the onrushing Brown.

Dallas miss … Hauser 3.

Dallas turnover … alley-oop to Brown is off the mark, but Brown puts it back in anyway.

Dallas turnover … Tatum scores in transition.

Dallas misses … Tatum misses.

The lead is 10.


Mavericks 13-16 Celtics, 3:56 left, 1st quarter

Tatum wins a jump ball and feeds White for a 3.

But Porzingis and Tatum misfire, and Irving tosses an alley-oop to Lively for another emphatic slam as the shot clock runs down. Timeout Boston.


Mavericks 11-13 Celtics, 5:08 left, 1st quarter

Dončić, Irving, Tatum and Brown are four of the best players in the NBA over the past 10 years. They’re 0-for-10.

But Dončić hits a shot coming out of the timeout, and he draws a foul on Horford, who went about 30 feet into the air on a Dončić pump fake. Free throw good.

Irving fouls White, who hits the first free throw and … here comes Porzingis! The TD Garden crowd erupts.

White makes the second, too.

Irving misses a long shot, and Brown scores at the other end on a tough shot.

Keeping up the color theme, Josh Green hits a 3, gets a rebound, and hits another 3. All of a sudden, the lead is two.


Mavericks 2-9 Celtics, 7:26 left, 1st quarter

Nifty cut down the lane from Holiday, who takes another Tatum pass and flips it up and in.

The Mavericks love their alley-oops dunks, don’t they? Jones takes this one from Dončić.

Tatum puts up an airball. But after another wasted Dallas possession, Holiday gets out in transition and lays it in. He has the first six Boston points.

Dončić is 0-for-3. Brown is 0-for-4.

The crowd has a few words for former Celtic Kyrie Irving, who also has not scored.

Dončić drives and flips the ball over his shoulder to the corner, but Jones misses.

At the other end, Al Horford hits a 3. That’s enough to make Dallas call timeout. For once, the Mavericks don’t have the early lead.


Mavericks 0-2 Celtics, 9:34 left, 1st quarter

Tatum feeds Holiday for the first points of the game, but more worryingly for the Mavericks, Dončić has already picked up his first foul.

More worryingly for the Celtics, Jaylen Brown is already 0-for-3. But Dončić is 0-for-2.


No surprises in the starting lineups. Porzingis awaits on the bench.

Tipoff …


Did you know that the phrase “I don’t know who you are” aligns perfectly with the first line of the national anthem? Try it.

Tonight’s singer is Joelle James, a Grammy-winning songwriter with a powerful voice who went to Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Before Berklee, she made it to the not-quite-final group of American Idol.

I still wish I’d bought the “Berklee Football: Undefeated Since 1945” T-shirt I once saw.


Updated at 

Tipoff in … 11:30? Or at 11:30? We’ll assume it’s the former.

If not, consider watching Afghanistan v West Indies in a battle of unbeatens in the T20 World Cup.


What’s at stake …

The teams with the most NBA championships are, in reverse order starting from No. 5:

The Celtics, though, haven’t won it since 2008.


Mavericks fans are taking credit for breaking the internet with a meme of Luka Dončić mimicking Lebron James wearing sunglasses and headphones that look like IV lines.

Anyone else not really understand a lot of alleged memes?


The Porzingis update

Boston’s 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis is available and expect to play without restrictions tonight.

That should help a Celtics team that has had a lot of trouble answering the 1-2 punch of Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively in the paint, especially in Game 4.



Anyone else just have a feeling we may be on the verge of seeing history?

Coming back from an 0-3 series deficit doesn’t happen in the NBA. Literally.

But after Dallas routed Boston in Game 4, trepidation amongst the most superstitious fan base in the US is surely rising.

Perhaps it’s just the circles in which I run, but the Celtics fans I know seem to be demanding rather than cheering. And they’re demanding it from a team that was outplayed in Game 4 – and, perhaps more disturbingly, outcoached. Joe Mazzulla simply had no answers for all the wrinkles Jason Kidd threw at him, relying instead on his iron eight-man rotation to save the day even though they were physically overmatched.

So are we going to see a self-fulfilling prophecy? If enough people say the Celtics are bound to blow it, will they?

Or does the series end tonight?


Beau will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Kyrie Irving on returning to the Garden:

“Now being older with hindsight looking back, I definitely would have taken time to know the people in the community and talked to some of the champions that have come before me,” Irving told reporters on Sunday. “They have championship pedigree here … They expect you to seamlessly buy into the Celtics’ pride, buy into everything Celtics.

“And if you don’t, then you’ll be outed. I’m one of the people that’s on the outs. I’m perfectly fine with that, you know what I mean. I did it to myself.”

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