Boston Celtics Aim to Clinch 18th NBA Title in Game 5 Showdown Against Kyrie Irving and Dallas Mavericks

By Score More

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics have another chance to clinch their 18th NBA title as they face the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 17 (June 18, Singapore time). Among the Mavericks is guard Kyrie Irving, who is well-acquainted with the Celtics’ desire to end the series, having played for Boston from 2017 to 2019.

Irving’s departure from Boston to the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 turned him into a target for Celtics fans, who made their feelings known with chants of “Kyrie sucks” during Games 1 and 2 at TD Garden. These chants accompanied a pair of Mavericks’ losses before Boston extended their series lead to 3-1 with a win in Dallas.

Irving addressed the situation candidly: “Let’s just call it what it is. When the fans are cheering ‘Kyrie sucks’ they feel like they have a psychological edge, and that’s fair.”

As the Celtics edge closer to their 18th championship, Irving reflects on his time in Boston and the legacy he left behind. “Now being older with hindsight looking back, I definitely would have taken time to know the people in the community and talked to some of the champions that have come before me,” Irving said on June 16. “They expect you to seamlessly buy into the Celtics’ pride, buy into everything Celtics. And if you don’t, then you’ll be outed. I’m one of the people that’s on the outs. I’m perfectly fine with that.”

While Irving has made peace with his past, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is firmly focused on the present. When asked about the possibility of joining the ranks of legendary Celtics coaches like Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, and K.C. Jones, Mazzulla promptly redirected the conversation to the task at hand. “That will never happen if you don’t run back on defense, rebound, execute, and get to your spacing,” he emphasized. “That’s the most important thing.”

The Celtics were reminded of these fundamentals after a disappointing 122-84 loss in Game 4, where Jayson Tatum led the team with just 15 points. Reflecting on the defeat, Tatum noted the team’s misplaced pressure to perform perfectly. “I think we maybe put too much pressure on ourselves at that moment to be perfect or think it was going to go how we wanted it to go,” Tatum said. “Joe did a great job (on June 16) of reminding us that it’s OK to smile during wars. It’s OK to have fun during high-pressure moments. That’s what makes our team unique and special.”

Dallas, on the other hand, is fighting to make history as the first team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. Luka Doncic, who scored 29 points in Game 4, is leading the Mavericks’ charge, supported by Irving’s 21 points. “I think the most important thing is to show that we believe,” Doncic said. “I think we showed in Game 4. If not, if we wouldn’t believe, we probably wouldn’t have won that game.”

As the Celtics prepare for Game 5, the stars seem to be aligning for a historic night in Boston. June 17 marks the 16th anniversary of their 2008 championship, the last time they claimed the NBA title. The Celtics will aim to harness this historical significance and the energy of their home crowd to secure their place in NBA history.

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