Starting 5 Daily Newsletter

Starting 5, June 18: Celtics claim 18th NBA championship

Jayson Tatum and Bill Russell Finals MVP Jaylen Brown led the Celtics to their record-breaking 18th NBA title.

Starting 5

“He told me I was the best in the world … I said ‘you’re damn right I am!'”

– Jayson Tatum on what his son, Deuce, said as the confetti fell


What’s inside today’s edition?

Jays Lead Cs To Title 18: Tatum & Brown shine to clinch first title together

Team Effort: How Finals MVP Jaylen Brown & the rest of the Celtics made history

Where They Rank: Where this Celtics team stacks up historically

Celtics Celebration: From the court to the locker room, go inside the championship party

Championship Images: Some of our favorite images from Monday in Boston


That’s a wrap on the 2023-24 NBA season.

With the Finals complete, can you list the 10 all-time Playoff points leaders in Celtics franchise history? Test yourself in NBA Play: Expert Mode.


For the second time in three years, the NBA Finals ended at TD Garden in Boston.

In 2022, the Celtics had to watch as the Golden State Warriors celebrated their fourth title in an eight-year span on their home court.

This time, when the clock struck 0:00, green and white confetti danced in the air as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Celtics celebrated the franchise’s NBA-record 18th championship – breaking a tie with the rival Lakers with one of the best start-to-finish seasons in NBA history.

  • 🗣 Tatum: “Coming up short and having failures makes this moment that much better. … You know what it feels like to be on the other side of this and be in the locker room and hearing the other team celebrate on your home floor. That was devastating.”

The Celtics won title No. 18 on the 16th anniversary of title No. 17 … on 6/17, in the 617 Boston area code, no less.

In doing so, this team — built around the star duo of Tatum and Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Jaylen Brown — joined Boston’s championship lore.

  • 🗣 Tatum: “This is at the top of the mountain. To be able to say we did it, that we came together and we won a championship. Banner No. 18 has been hanging over our head for so many years. To know that we’re going to be engraved in history.”

2024 NBA Finals MVP Jaylen Brown & Jayson Tatum now know what it takes to be champions. What lies ahead for the accomplished duo?

How They Did It: After suffering a 38-point loss in Game 4 in Dallas, the Celtics jumped on the Mavs from the opening tip and never trailed in a 106-88 win – an 18-point victory for title No. 18.

  • Tatum became the sixth player to post 30+ pts & 10+ ast in a title-clinching game – joining Steph Curry (2017), Michael Jordan (1991), James Worthy (1988), Walt Frazier (1970) and Jerry West (1969) – while becoming the only Celtic with a 30/10 Finals game ever
  • Brown added 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals as the duo combined to score 50+ points in each of Boston’s final two wins to clinch the series in five games

The Celtics had been knocking on the championship door since Brown and Tatum came together as teammates in 2017 – after being selected No. 3 overall in consecutive drafts (2016 & 2017). Three seasons ended in the East Finals (2018, 2020 and 2023) and another in the Finals (2022).

  • Every time the team fell short, the pair heard the chatter grow louder. Could the Jays break through?
  • 🗣 Brown: “We’ve been through a lot, the losses, the expectations. The media have said all different types of things: We can’t play together, we are never going to win. We heard it all. But we just blocked it out, and we just kept going. I trusted him. He trusted me. And we did it together.”
  • In their 107th Playoff game as teammates, Brown and Tatum finally silenced the critics as the Celtics completed a 16-3 run through the 2024 Playoffs – the second-best win percentage since 2003, when all four rounds became best-of-seven
  • 🗣 Tatum and Brown: “What they gonna say now?!”

From this day forward, they’ll have to say “NBA champion” whenever they introduce Brown, Tatum and the rest of the 2023-24 Boston Celtics.


Jaylen Brown heard Adam Silver announce his name and felt TD Garden roar as a sea of smiling teammates engulfed him.

Brown was handed the trophy named after Celtics great Bill Russell and hoisted it to the sky – just as he had elevated Boston all season – marking the pinnacle of an eight-year journey.

After enduring four eliminations in the Conference Finals and falling two wins shy of a 2022 title, JB was the Finals MVP, and the Celtics were NBA champions.

  • 🗣️ Brown: ”The journey is awesome … to be here in this moment now – through all the years, through all the doubt, through all the ups-and-downs, through all the adversity … it just makes the story that much sweeter.”
  • Celtic Lore: Brown is just the sixth Celtic to win Finals MVP since 1969
  • Hardware: Brown is the first player to win Finals MVP without making an All-NBA Team since Andre Iguodala in 2015
  • Career Playoffs: JB finishes the 2024 postseason with an average of 23.9 points per game on 51.6% shooting and a +6.2 net rating – all Playoff career highs

Jaylen Brown locks up Luka Doncic in Game 5 to seal the Bill Russell trophy as 2024 NBA Finals MVP.

Brown – who also won the Eastern Conference Finals MVP – averaged 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in the Finals, and shined when it mattered most for Boston.

  • Game 1: Scored a team-high 22 points to lead the Cs to an 18-point win
  • Game 2: Teamed up with Derrick White for a key chasedown block in the final minute and then provided the dagger with a lead-extending layup
  • Game 3: Halted a near 21-point Mavs’ comeback by nailing a midrange jumper with 47 seconds left to put Boston back up four and give them a 3-0 series lead
  • Game 5: Went for 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals to help clinch a Celtics title

“It was a team effort,” said Brown on winning Finals MVP. “I share this with my brothers.”

Like Brown, several other Celtics made history on Monday.

  • Al Horford: Entering Monday, Horford — a 17-year vet — had played in 186 career Playoff games, the most before winning a title in NBA history. Horford is also the first Dominican-born player to win an NBA title
  • Kristaps Porzingis: Porzingis — who helped spark a Game 1 Celtics win with 18 points in the first half — is the first Latvian to win an NBA title
  • Jrue Holiday: Holiday — a 2021 champion with the Bucks — is the first player to win a title in his first season with two separate franchises (min. 30 min/g)
  • Derrick White: White dominated on the defensive end, leading the Celtics in blocks and tied for second in steals (with Al Horford) in the Finals
  • Payton Pritchard: Pritchard’s 51-foot buzzer-beater to end the first half last night marked the longest Finals shot in the play-by-play era (since 1998)
  • Joe Mazzulla: At 35 years and 353 days old, Mazzulla is the youngest head coach to win a championship since Bill Russell in 1969 (35 years, 82 days)
  • 🗣️ Brown: “None of it feels real right now. It feels like we’re in some Disney movie or something.”


The Celtics’ unprecedented 18th title made for a fitting end to a season that’s seen them rewrite the record books again and again — and secure their place among some of the most dominant teams ever. | 18 Stats for the 18th Championship

  • Rare Air: The Celtics’ 80-21 record (regular season + postseason) marks the second-best single season record in franchise history
  • Playoff Prowess: With a 16-3 (.842) postseason record, the Celtics have the second-best winning percentage since the current seven-game, four-round Playoff format was introduced in 2003, trailing only the 2017 Warriors (16-1 | .941)
  • Uncommon Cushion: The Celtics (64-18) finished the regular season 14 games ahead of the No. 2 seeded Knicks (50-32), the widest margin between a No. 1 and No. 2 seed since 1975-76
  • Boston’s Best Beginning: The Celtics’ 18-0 start at home to open the season was the best start in franchise history (1957-58: 17-0 start at home)
  • Signature Celtics Streak: The Celtics’ 10 straight wins from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to Game 3 of the Finals is the longest Playoff win streak in franchise history

The Boston Celtics dominate the Dallas Mavericks in the 1st half of Game 5 on the way to their 18th championship.

But the 2023-24 Celtics didn’t just become one of the winningest squads in franchise and NBA history, they also found new levels of statistical greatness.

  • Unmatched Offense: The Celtics posted an offensive rating of 122.2 in the regular season, the best offensive rating in the play-by-play era (since 1997-98)
  • Triple Crown: The Celtics made a total of 1,626 threes in the regular season and postseason combined, the most in a single season in NBA history
  • BTB Boston 3 Party: The Celtics are the first team in NBA history to make 1,300+ 3s in back-to-back regular seasons
  • Unparalleled All-Around: For the second consecutive regular season, the Celtics ranked in the top two in both offensive and defensive rating, becoming the first team in the play-by-play era (since 1997-98) to do so in back-to-back seasons

The Boston Celtics close out the Mavericks in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals, bringing joy to the final moments on the floor.

And their wins weren’t close. Including the regular season and postseason, Boston posted a +10.7 per-game point differential, the largest margin of any Celtics team ever.

Only four squads in NBA history posted a better average point differential, led by the likes of Kareem & Oscar Robertson, Steph & KD, Jordan & Pippen and Wilt & West:

  • 1970-71 Bucks: 12.6 | Won title
  • 2016-17 Warriors: 12.0 | Won title
  • 1995-96 Bulls: 12.0 | Won title
  • 1971-72 Lakers: 10.9 | Won title

Now, another team, led by another duo, solidifies one of the most dominant runs ever with a ring.


From the confetti falling to the court at the final buzzer, to the champagne spraying inside the locker room, to the fans dancing in the streets, the celebration of winning banner No. 18 and the first Celtics championship in exactly 16 years is in full swing.

  • “This is just how I pictured it. Here at the Garden. With our fans. Everybody together. This is just how I saw it.” – Al Horford on winning his first NBA title with the Celtics
  • “I’d lose all my teeth for a championship.” – Derrick White after chipping one tooth and having two front teeth knocked loose on a dive for a loose ball
  • “It’s a surreal feeling, we did it … WE DID IT!!! – Watch the accomplishment of winning the Finals sink in for Jayson Tatum seconds after the game ended

From pregame arrivals to the postgame celebration, our all-access cameras were rolling to take you along for the ride. Plus, Celtics superfan Jamad chronicled her perspective on the championship-clinching night.

With the gravity of their accomplishment still setting in, hear what the Celtics had to say about Game 5 and their special season.

  • 🗣 Brown: “It still kind of feels unreal. It feels like there’s another game or something tomorrow. But I can’t tell you enough about our group and our coaching staff. They were great all season long. They prepared us for these moments.”
  • 🗣 Tatum: “To elevate yourself in a space that all your favorite players are in, everybody that they consider greats or legends have won a championship … Now I can walk in those rooms and be a part of that.”

  • 🗣 Porzingis: “Once I got hurt, it was a heartbreaking moment for me. I didn’t want to accept the truth. It was like, no way it happened, right. But, yeah, tonight was the night. I was like, listen, I’m going to give it everything I have.”
  • 🗣 Holiday: “I’m blessed to be here, and I’m so happy to be here, and I’m so happy Brad gave me that call to come through and JT texting me, hitting me up, talking about ‘Come on, Champ.’ It’s been a hell of a journey.”