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Jaylen Brown named NBA Finals MVP after spectacular series vs. Mavs

Doug Kyed, Boston Herald on

Published in Basketball

BOSTON — Jaylen Brown said it best. It was a full-team effort for the Celtics to clinch their 18th banner with a 106-88 Game 5 win over the Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

Jayson Tatum led the game with 31 points and 11 assists. Jrue Holiday collected a team-leading 11 rebounds. Sam Hauser buried two first-half 3s with a steal. Payton Pritchard drilled another half-court buzzer-beater. Al Horford was a point and rebound away from a double-double. Derrick White lost half a tooth. And Kristaps Porzingis played it all on a torn medial retinaculum, which was impressive in itself.

But Brown took home NBA Finals MVP after another strong performance in front of a raucous TD Garden crowd on Monday night.

Brown scored 21 points with eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in the championship-clinching contest. He was 7 of 23 from the field and 2 of 9 from 3. He hit 5 of 6 free throws.

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd seemingly tried to drive a wedge in the opposition early in the series by calling Brown, not Tatum, the Celtics’ best player. The Celtics responded by losing just one game to Kidd’s Mavericks on their way to an NBA championship.

Tatum won first-team All-NBA honors for the third straight year while Brown was an All-NBA snub this season.

It was fitting that one of the first things Brown did after lifting The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy was mention Tatum.

“It was a full-team effort. I share this with my brothers,” Brown said. “And my partner in crime Jayson Tatum, he was with me the whole way so we share this (expletive) together.”

 

Brown said that his game was different this season because he was able to let go of his anxieties and doubts. ESPN’s Lisa Salters asked Brown after Monday night’s win how he was able to do that to unlock his game.

“Just my faith in the most high. Just believing in my teammates, my coaching staff and just being grateful for every moment, every opportunity,” Brown said. “I never hung my head. I don’t give a (expletive) about what anybody gotta say about me.”

Brown entered Game 5 as the favorite to take home finals MVP after playing like the Celtics’ best player through the first three games of the series. He averaged 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and five assists while shooting 44% in the finals.

No one on the Celtics played well in their lone Finals loss, a dreadful 122-84 effort in Dallas. Tatum made a strong push to win the Finals MVP award while dominating the Mavericks on Monday night.

He became just the fifth player to put up a 30-5-10 line in a finals-clinching performance, joining Steph Curry, James Worthy, Walt Frazier and Jerry West. He also passed his idol, Kobe Bryant, with most playoff points before turning 27.

“It means the world,” Tatum said about winning. "It was a long-time coming, and damn, it was worth it. We need each other. We all need each other.”


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