The Boston Celtics dominated the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night, winning the franchise's long-awaited 18th championship. Their first time since being the last team standing since 2008, the Celtics now own one more title than the Los Angeles Lakers, sitting alone atop the league's all-time hierarchy once again.

After Joe Mazzulla and company raised the Larry O'Brien Trophy at center court of the parquet floor, commissioner Adam Silver announced the recipient of Finals MVP. Jaylen Brown was voted winner of the Bill Russell Award over Jayson Tatum, his reliably strong two-way performance throughout the series outweighing his longtime teammate's overall impact and dominant Game 5.

Brown received seven tallies for Finals MVP compared to Tatum's four, a closer-than-expected finish given the latter's struggles to score against Dallas. Tatum shook off those labors when it mattered most, though, exploding for 31 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists on 11-of-24 from the field, his best shooting night of the Finals.

Brown got ahead of any inevitable controversy pitting him against Tatum, almost immediately acknowledging his co-star upon taking the Russell Trophy in one hand and a mic in the other.

“It was a full team effort,” Brown said. “I share this with my brothers and my partner in crime, Jayson Tatum. He was with me the whole way.”

Tatum, for his part, echoed those sentiments, stressing how both players needed the other to finally lead Boston to basketball's mountaintop.

“First of all, congrats to him. Well deserved. I'm extremely happy for him. This is a hell of an accomplishment. The main goal for us was to win a championship. We didn't care who got Finals MVP. I know that I need him through this journey and he needs me. It was great to see him have that moment and share that moment with him.”

Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum cement themselves among NBA's all-time duos

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) celebrate after a play during the first quarter in game three of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

To the extent skepticism of the Celtics existed leading into the playoffs and up to the Finals, it was broadly rooted in the reality that they don't employ one of the several best players in the world. The old adage goes that the team with the best player normally wins a postseason series. People betting on the Mavericks to win the title weren't only relying on Luka Doncic being in a different class than Tatum and Brown, but even Kyrie Irving out-playing them, too.

Doncic nor Irving never found their jumpers in the Finals, just like Tatum and Brown. But what separates Boston's star tandem from almost any other in basketball is that they don't need to score efficiently to consistently impact winning.

Tatum shot poorly throughout the series and was frequently victimized by Doncic one-on-one after switches, yet still made indispensable contributions to Boston's success as an advantage playmaker, rebounder and upsized defender. Brown's sterling efficiency throughout the playoffs abandoned him the last two games, but it didn't matter because he absolutely hounded Doncic and Irving defensively and regularly made the right decision after creasing the paint on the other end.

It speaks volumes of just how talented the Celtics' top-six are that they won a championship without Tatum and Brown playing at their respective peaks. But that's also why every team in the league would love to build their roster around two wings who can guard multiple positions, score from all three levels of the floor and serve as a worthwhile offensive initiator.

There may be more talented duos in the league than Tatum and Brown. Some co-stars certainly comprise a more seamless fit offensively. No two teammates provide more depth of all-court effectiveness than Boston's best players, though, positioning them alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade among the best pair of wings in NBA history.