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The Boston Celtics celebrate their 18th NBA Championship

Tribune News Service
Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) scores past Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the first half in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston.

Confetti rained down on more than 1 million Boston Celtics fans Friday as the team rolled through the city on duck boats with the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to celebrate their 18th NBA championship win.

The morning of celebrations started with huge crowds gathering downtown outside the TD Garden arena. Traffic and barricades forced team owner Wyc Grousbeck to walk the final half-mile, giving fans an early look at the trophy.

Once Grousbeck and other members of the organization made it into the arena, they kicked off the celebration with a rally that included players and their family members, Celtics staff, arena employees, season ticket holders and special guests, including Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

“It’s unbelievable,” All-Star Jayson Tatum said during the pre-parade rally at the Garden. “It still doesn’t seem true.”

Next, the team and trophies were loaded onto duck boats for the 90-minute parade, the city’s 13th championship parade this century and the Celtics’ second. The parade began around 11:15 a.m. in front of TD Garden on Causeway Street and passed City Hall Plaza and the Boston Common before ending on Boylston Street near the Hynes Convention Center.

Wu’s office estimated “well over” 1 million people were in attendance. The Celtics entered the season vowing to turn recent playoff heartbreaks into happiness, and eight months later, they hoisted the franchise’s 18th trophy with a massive parade to mark Boston’s 13th championship this century in the four major U.S. sports leagues.

The Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins have all commemorated championships with duck boat parades, an iconic Boston tradition. This latest celebration followed the Celtics’ decisive Game 5 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, clinching their 18th title and breaking their tie with the Lakers for the most NBA league titles.

Game 5: Dominance from Start to Finish
The Celtics closed the first quarter of Monday’s NBA Finals Game 5 on a 9–0 run and never looked back, leading to a dominant 106–88 win for Boston. The win secured a 4–1 victory in the NBA Finals and the franchise’s first title since 2008.

Boston set the tone from the opening tip, taking the floor in their classic green uniforms, and putting on a performance worthy of their storied history. They built an early lead with a standout 31-point, 11-assist and eight-rebound performance by Jayson Tatum, who led the Celtics in points, rebounds and assists throughout the playoffs.

Payton Pritchard ensured the Celtics had all the momentum heading into halftime. The Boston guard, who hadn’t played the entire half, swished a 49-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer, extending the Celtics’ lead to 67–46. It was Pritchard’s third buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the 2024 playoffs and the longest-made shot in the Finals in the past 25 years.

Dallas never recovered. Boston extended its lead to as much as 26 points in the third quarter and never let Dallas back into striking distance. The fourth quarter was all Boston, with the Celtics’ defense and 3-point shooting proving too much for the Mavericks. Luka Dončić led Dallas with 28 points, but his efforts were not enough to overcome the Celtics’ balanced attack and stifling defense.

Fans hung from light posts, flashed homemade signs and stood on subway entrances, saluting the franchise that now stands alone atop the NBA with 18 championships.

Inside the Garden, the rally included emotional moments and speeches from players and team officials. The team had celebrated in the locker room Monday night by spraying champagne and posing for pictures with the trophy. They then flew to Miami for a private party before returning to Boston for the parade.

The Celtics are in a strong position to defend their title, with all five starters under contract for next season. As fans celebrated their 18th championship, the message was clear: Keep the duck boats gassed up; the Celtics are ready for more.

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Collyn Cowles
Collyn Cowles, Sports editor

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