The Boston Three Party Wins It All

Technically, the Boston Celtics weren’t offically NBA champions until they played the entire second half en route to their 80th victory of the 2023-24 season.  But for all intents and purposes, the Dallas Mavericks were eliminated at the end of the first half.  OREGONLIVE.com’s Geoffrey C. Arnold explains:

Payton Pritchard, just stop it. The Boston Celtics guard made another 3-point buzzer-beater in the NBA Finals.

Pritchard’s latest buzzer-beater occurred during Game 5 on Monday night. This one came from half court as the halftime buzzer sounded during the Celtics’ game against the Dallas Mavericks. 

Pritchard, inserted into the game specifically for this moment just a few seconds prior, took the pass from Al Horford and dribbled up the left side of the court. He dribbled twice before launching his shot just prior to reaching the midcourt line and over the outstretched hand of Dallas forward Luka Doncic.

The shot sent the hometown fans into a frenzy as he was mobbed by his teammates.

The 3-point buzzer-beater was Pritchard’s second in the NBA Finals. He made a 3-pointer from the logo as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter during Boston’s 105-98 win in Game 2.

The buzzer-beater marked the third time Pritchard has made a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer during the playoffs. He drilled a 28-foot 3-point shot as the horn sounded to end the third quarter during the Celtics’ 120-95 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal playoffs series.

When the back end of your bench becomes a folk hero, the end result is usually academic.  And so the story from THE ATHLETIC’s Joe Vardon that dropped last night was equally academic:

The Boston Celtics are again champions of the NBA, having claimed a milestone title Monday night that will reverberate from coast to coast and carve out legacies for the current pillars of this storied franchise.

The Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals to win the series 4-1 and claim a league-record 18th NBA championship.

As to who are most responsible for this, conventional wisdom suggests it was the “Js”, as Vardon expounded:

(Jayson) Tatum and Jaylen Brownthe Celtics’ co-anchors since Tatum’s rookie season in 2017, can take their place among the Boston legends to hang banners before them. Tatum finished with 31 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, while Brown added 21 points.

But I’m nominating the Celtics’ youthful second-season coach, as YAHOO! SPORTS’ Liz Roucher revealed this morning that he was performing through injury almost to the level of big man Kristaps Porzingis:

Joe Mazzulla became the youngest coach since the late, great Bill Russell to win an NBA title on Monday night when his Boston Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-88. But the 35-year-old Mazzulla has one thing that Russell did not: a torn meniscus. 

During the festivities following the win, Mazzulla spoke to “SportsCenter” and was asked what his celebration plans are. He revealed he has none, because he needs to have surgery to repair a torn meniscus. 

Brown was named the MVP pf the Finals, but even he would allow he was one among many.  Four players scored in double figures last night; a total of seven notched three-pointers.  Dallas simply could not find a solution for the team effort that was on display last night and throughout the post-season.

There will finally be another Duck Parade for the C’s, a full eighteen years after the last one.  Brown, Tatum, Porzingis and Mazzulla should lead it.  But be sure to make room for Peyton Pritchard to heave one more up.  Fortunately, he’s already proven he can hit them from way outside.

Courage…

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