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Celtics win 18th NBA championship, Bostonians rejoice and reflect

After defeating the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics broke their previous tie with the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the franchise with the most championship titles across the NBA.

In celebration of the Celtics winning their illustrious 18th NBA Championship title, fans paraded and partied, all while reflecting on a successful season.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum drinks from a gold bottle during the Celtics’ championship parade on Friday. The Celtics won their 18th NBA Championship title in Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks. PHOTO BY LINDSAY SHACHNOW

Noah Powell, an NBA content creator and previous Celtics intern, worked Game 5 and watched the team claim the championship title. He said the Celtics have had a “chokehold” on him for the last eight months, and seeing them win was “absolute bliss.”

“This season was nothing like ever before. I don’t think I ever doubted this team, with a record like that and dominance like this,” Powell said. “This one feels like the cherry on top.”

Powell said he recalled watching the Celtics earn banner No. 17 after they defeated the Lakers 131-92 in Game 6 of the 2008 playoffs, but watching the team win this year was “100% better” because he’s older and supported the team through hardship.

The Celtics have come close to reprising their title over their 16-year drought. They fell in the 2022 NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors and lost last year’s Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat.

“I didn’t know if we were going to be able to get it over the hump since we’ve been here the last couple of years,” said Christian Bermudez, who attended Friday’s parade.  “We couldn’t beat Miami. We didn’t beat the Warriors. Now that we finally beat what they said was an easy playoff run … nobody can really take that from us now.”

The Celtics received criticism for a seemingly ‘easy’ playoff series. Miami Heat wing Jimmy Butler and Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Donovan Mitchell were both out with injuries when their respective teams played the Celtics during the tournament. They also played the five-seeded Mavericks in the finals.

Jack Walsh, who also attended Friday’s parade, said he loves that the Celtics’ championship run has been called “boring” because “we were the number one team in and out.”

“Everyone just hates it because they know that it was unprecedented what we did,” Walsh said. “Look at the record books. They’ll show you.”

Elvin Guerrero, another parade attendee, said “underrated” center-forward Al Horford winning his first championship with the Celtics was “well deserved.” This is Horford’s seventh season with the Celtics, and he is the oldest player on the team at 37. 

Walsh said he has been a fan of Finals MVP Jaylen Brown since he first joined the team. Brown and fellow star player, forward Jayson Tatum, were drafted back-to-back by the Celtics in 2016 and 2017 using the picks earned from a trade that sent 2008 champions Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets.

Walsh commended head coach Joe Mazzulla, calling him “phenomenal.” Mazzulla was named interim coach for the Celtics in 2022 and head coach in 2023, winning the championship in his second season with the team. 

Walsh said he thinks with Mazzulla, who is from Rhode Island like him, the Celtics can repeat the championship next season.

“Mazzulla is a f—ing hometown hero,” Walsh said.

The Celtics were installed as the favorite to win the championship next season. Walsh said if the team can clean up its 3-point shooting game, especially since the “core six” players — Brown, Tatum, Horford, Jrue Holiday, Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis — are returning, the Celtics will have consistency from a veteran standpoint in addition to new rookie contracts. 

The Celtics can easily repeat next season, Walsh said, adding later he thinks their only realistic contender next year is the Denver Nuggets, who were the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference this season.

Guerrero said despite the criticism the team has received, the Celtics will continue to be successful.

“They’re going to keep coming up with new stories,” Guerrero said. “We’re just going to keep on winning.”

Lauren Albano
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Lindsay Shachnow
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