Boston Celtics win 18th NBA title, never anyone like them


By John

The Boston Celticsalready dominators of the regular season, they won the final series over the Dallas Mavericks (4-1) winning his 18th NBA title, a record number. Thus the Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown duo also entered the already prestigious history of the Massachusetts franchise. Boston managed to contain two of the NBA’s brightest forwards, the Slovenian Luka Doncic and the American Kyrie Irving. Head in hands, tears in his eyes, Tatum savored the final moments of a game dominated from start to finish (106-88), which allowed the Celtics to surpass the 17 titles of their ancient rivals the Los Angeles Lakers.

«Knowing that we are part of history… It was worth making so many sacrifices. I will remember this night for my whole life,” Tatum said. This team joins others dressed in green that will remain in the memory, led by basketball legends. Like 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). The Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce/Ray Allen trio had last brought the trophy, in 2008, before the four-leaf clover franchise began its recent reconstruction with two No. 3 players in the draft: Jaylen Brown (27 years old) in 2016 and Jayson Tatum (26) in 2017. Elected MVP of the final, Jaylen Brown immediately greeted his “brother” and “accomplice” Tatum: the two now lead a complete team, which previously reigned over the NBA championship (64 victories-18 defeats, best balance sheet), then made the playoffs (16 wins-3 losses).

Accurate shooting, powerful approach to the basket and athletic defenders, the versatile Tatum and Brown combine all the qualities of the modern NBA player. Around them, the franchise has patiently assembled a complete group, bringing the last two missing pieces to the puzzle last summer, with Jrue Holiday, a formidable defender already crowned with Milwaukee in 2021, and the Latvian pivot Kristaps Porzingis (2.18 m ). The icing on the cake was the gamble, which proved successful, to entrust the team in 2022 to the young and unknown Joseph “Joe” Mazzulla (36 years old on 30 June), obsessive game theorist, admirer and friend of Pep Guardiola. Father of Italian origins (the family comes from Itri, province of Latina), adored by the team, in two seasons he went from unknown to NBA champion.

«Joe is a basketball genius», summarized Derrick White after game 3 of the final. A former West Virginia college player who has been a coach since leaving college in 2011 due to a lack of opportunities, Mazzulla has imposed a renewed vision of schemes and management that has been praised by his players, even older players such as infielder Al Horford, just two years old bigger than him. The friend and inspiration Guardiola was to deepen his knowledge of his work on the sidelines, during the first match of the final. «I study Manchester City and Pep a lot, I think he is the best manager in the world, in all sports and at all levels. He has a great influence on me »said Mazzulla, who was in Manchester in February for an exchange of ideas and shirts between strategists.