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Boston Celtics’ Path to Victory: A Recap of the NBA Playoffs

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Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
The Boston Celtics celebrate their record-breaking 18th win as a team.

The 2023-24 NBA season came to an end Monday, Jun. 17 as the Boston Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in game 5 to win their record-breaking 18th Championship as a franchise. Boston was led by finals MVP Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick White. The Mavericks were led by Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, P.J. Washington, Derrick Jones Jr, and Dereck Lively II.

Lively has been playing through this postseason after his mother lost her fight with cancer, and promised to fight the way she did, and he did just that. The two teams matched up well on paper, but Boston’s presence could not be denied as they led the Mavericks in almost all statistical categories. This was a very meaningful win for the roster as they have gotten close in the past few years but were never able to win it all. Through those hard times, the team was able to stick together and grow as they moved forward. For the Mavericks, they were left with a lot to build from. Both teams had very different paths to the Finals.

The Celtics opened the Playoffs as the favorites to win it all as the #1 seed and they faced a familiar foe, #8 Miami. The Heat were led by Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro as Jimmy Butler was out with a sprained MCL through the entirety of the series. Adebayo shot very well from the field and remained to be a presence on defense as he battled Porzingis. Herro had a solid performance as he held up his end of the bargain on the shooting end as the series progressed.

The Celtics were led by Brown, Tatum, and White who had a dominating performance throughout this series. Brown was the most consistent of the three as he was relied on to succeed on both offense and defense. White had a great presence on the defensive end during this series and made it hard for any of the Miami guards to facilitate.

During this series, Porzingis would go down with a right soleus strain that would keep him out for the majority of the Playoffs. This didn’t slow down the Celtics they would go on to win this series in six games and face a very new threat in the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers led a resurgence during this past regular season claiming the #4 spot. They were led by Donovan Mitchell, who had very solid performances on both ends of the court before he went down with a calf strain.

The Celtics were led by Tatum whose jump shot is very hard to guard, continued to prove himself throughout the series. Ultimately, the injury to Mitchell hurt the Cavaliers as they lost the series in five games and the Boston Celtics the faced off against the #6 Indiana Pacers. The Celtics had made it this far before and were able to reach the Finals in 2022, but for this young Pacers team, this was the first time they had ever made a run in the Playoffs.

In this series, Boston was led by Tatum, who had another solid performance on the offensive end, as well as Jaylen Brown who showed up during big moments of the series. The Pacers were led by Tyrese Haliburton who had a great showing in the postseason before he went down with hamstring and chest injuries in game two. Stepping up for the Pacers was Pascal Siakam who was a powerhouse on the glass fighting for rebounds, and Andrew Nembhard stepped up in the absence of Haliburton to score for the team in crucial moments. The injury to Haliburton proved to be a dagger to the team as they fell in four games. After this series, Brown was awarded the Larry Bird Conference Finals MVP for his part in their performance this series.

 

Looking at the Western Conference and the Mavericks’ journey to the Finals. They opened the Playoffs #5 with their first game against #4 Los Angeles. The Clippers were led by James Harden and Paul George. The Mavericks were led by Doncic, who had a spectacular performance on the offensive end, and Irving, who was able to move the ball around the court to open up shooting opportunities. This duo in Dallas would prove to be too much for the Clippers as they lost the series in six games. The Mavericks moved on to their toughest challenge: #1 Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder was led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who completely changed the culture of this team. Gilgeous-Alexander was a finalist in MVP voting and was nearly unstoppable on his mid-range shots. The Mavericks were once again led by Doncic, who had a very hard time scoring on the stifling defense of Lu Dort and Jalen Williams. During this series, Washington stepped up as a fresh third option for the Mavericks and caught the Thunders’ defense off guard. Ultimately, the presence of Washington stepping up was too much for Dallas, as they won in six games to advance to the Western Conference Finals against #3 Minnesota. The Timberwolves were led by Karl-Anthony Towns. Anthony Edwards performed great for the Timberwolves before this series but began to become more fatigued as the series progressed. Doncic continued to lead Dallas in their charge to the Finals. The slump that Edwards fell into would prove to be killer as it slowed down all momentum they had and gave Dallas the series win in five games.

The Finals left fans on the edge of their seats with a promising season next year. The young teams proved they have a future, as the Thunder and Pacers both made runs in the playoffs that their franchises have not seen in quite some time. Boston celebrated this win as they hope to continue their dominance into the next season. The 2024-25 NBA season will begin in October.

 

Dakotah Davidson is a fourth-year physical education major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Dakotah Davidson, Contributing Writer
Dakotah is a fourth-year physical education major from Chickasha. He is an avid sports fan, as well as an Olivia Rodrigo fan! In the future, Dakotah hopes to become a basketball coach.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Jun. 2024 - present