td-garden-getty.jpg
Getty

This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.


🏆 Good morning to everyone, but especially to ...

THE BOSTON CELTICS

The Celtics have finally captured their 18th NBA title after smashing the Dallas Mavericks, 106-88, in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

For the first time since 2008, the Celtics reign supreme in the NBA. After an impressive postseason run that included an 8-1 record in the final two rounds, Boston has now passed the Lakers for the most championships in NBA history.

After getting thumped by the Mavs in Game 4, the Celtics left no doubt about their intentions in Game 5. Boston jumped out to a 28-18 lead after the first quarter and held a 21-point lead at halftime. Payton Pritchard provided an exclamation point in the second quarter with a half-court shot at the buzzer.

Dallas didn't provide too much resistance in the second half, as Boston cruised to a series-clinching win.

Jaylen Brown was named NBA Finals MVP, just edging out teammate Jayson Tatum. That was a 180-degree moment for Brown, who was booed by Celtics fans after he was announced as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

  • Tatum turned in a championship double-double with 31 points and 11 assists.
  • Jrue Holiday did the same thing by notching 15 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Joe Mazzulla became the youngest coach to win an NBA title since Bill Russell in 1969.
  • Veteran Al Horford won the first championship of his 17-season career.

After years of heartbreak in their pursuit of Banner 18, the Celtics finally got over the hump this year. Our own James Herbert explains what the difference was this time around.

  • Herbert: "The difference is not just that Tatum and Finals MVP Jaylen Brown have matured and improved, though they unmistakably have. It is that this is another kind of superteam. As Mazzulla reminded the Celtics in a Game 4 huddle, they wear opponents down by relentlessly attacking their pressure points, moving the ball and creating confusion."

Now that he has a ring on his finger, does Tatum climb the ranks of the NBA's elite? Our own Sam Quinn reassesses Tatum's place in the league hierarchy after this title.

👍 Honorable mentions

🏀 And not such a good morning for ...

kyrie-usatsi-3.png
USATSI

THE DALLAS MAVERICKS

With their season on the line, the Mavericks went into Boston and got demolished for the first two quarters. Dallas was more competitive in the second half, but the game was already out of hand by then.

Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic combined for just 43 points, but don't let the final numbers fool you. That duo totaled just 14 points going into halftime, and Doncic hit just two of his nine attempts from behind the arc while turning the ball over seven times.

Doncic's defense was a point of criticism throughout the Finals, and he didn't do much to silence those critics on Monday night. He posted a minus-19 in 43 minutes. Only P.J. Washinton was worse at minus-26 in 34 minutes.

Putting this loss solely on Doncic would be a mistake. No one else managed to give him any help.

  • No other Maverick had more than 15 points in Game 5.
  • Dallas shot just 29.7% from three-point range with Washington going 0 for 5.
  • The Mavericks got out-rebounded 51-35, including 15-7 on the offensive glass.

And on top of that Irving averaged only 14 points per game on 34% shooting in the three games in Boston, notes Brad Botkin.

  • Botkin: "Pressure builds over time, and by the end, Irving was noticeably pressing. All series long he looked a bit frantic with his handle as he found himself corralled at what are typically points of advantage. When that happens, it carries over. Even comfortable shots become uncomfortable, like a quarterback who's been pressured all game finally getting a clean pocket from which to throw. By then, he's too jumpy to just flip the calm switch. Boston, both the team and city, had him rattled."

Doncic, meanwhile, will continue to search for the first NBA championship of his career, and the Mavericks' championship drought has hit 13 years. It'll be interesting to see how Doncic and the Mavs respond in the offseason, especially after such a lopsided Finals series.

👎 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 Ranking the NFL's 10 best offseasons

untitled-design-2024-06-18t033849-509.png
Getty Images

Believe it or not, it's already mid-June, and the NFL season will be here sooner than you think. Teams have tinkered with their rosters all offseason, and some of the rosters are almost unrecognizable for all the right reasons.

CBS Sports' own Josh Edwards evaluated the offseasons of all 32 teams and came up with a top-10 list. After factoring in the draft, free agency and trade, Edwards determined that the Steelers were one of the biggest offseason winners because of the way they remade their offense.

  • Edwards: "First and foremost, moving on from offensive coordinator Matt Canada in favor of Arthur Smith is an upgrade. By signing Russell Wilson and trading for Justin Fields, the organization leaned into its run-based identity. The offensive line draft selections give the Steelers an opportunity to take a big stride forward in that department this season."

The Steelers weren't the only team to make good use of the last few months. Here are a few of the teams on Edwards' list, ranging from Super Bowl contenders to teams that might be due for a big step forward in 2024:

10. Lions
9. Titans
8. Commanders

⚾ Aaron Judge is riding a historic heater

aaron-judge-yankees-usatsi-1.jpg
USATSI

Court is in session, and Aaron Judge has been swinging a heavy gavel of late. The Yankees slugger is on a staggering heater these days, and he is on pace to challenge the 62 home runs he hit in 2022.

After hammering a home run in Sunday night's loss to the Red Sox, Judge is up to 26 big flies on the season, but that total doesn't really tell the full story. Judge got off to a painfully slow start this year, and he was hitting .178 on April 22.

Since that time, Judge has risen to the top of nearly every offensive stat. In his last 50 games, Judge has a slash line of .260/.480/.854 to go along with 23 home runs. Our own Mike Axisa put into context exactly how unconscious Judge has been since he flipped a switch on April 23.

  • Axisa: "The gap between No. 1 and No. 2 in OPS is the same as the gap between No. 2 and No. 70. The slugging and extra-base hit gaps are what stand out most to me. Judge is the game's best power hitter and has been since his rookie season in 2017, but this is the best power stretch of his career, 2022 included. This is one of the all-time great power hitters at the top of his game."

This power surge has helped Judge close in on his 2022 home run pace. That year, Judge broke the franchise record with 62 homers, passing the great Roger Maris. If Judge can keep swinging an incendiary bat, he might be able to break his own record just two years later.

It's a good thing Judge is firing on all cylinders because the Yankees will be without first baseman Anthony Rizzo for four to six weeks with a fractured arm.

The injury news isn't all bad. Manager Aaron Boone has announced that ace Gerrit Cole will make his 2024 season debut against the Orioles on Wednesday.

📺 What we're watching Tuesday

⚾ College World Series -- Florida State vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m. on ESPN
⚽ Euro 2024 -- Portugal at Czechia, 3 p.m. on Fox
⚾ College World Series -- Florida vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m. on ESPN
⚾ Orioles at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. on TBS
🏒 Stanley Cup Final -- Game 5: Oilers at Panthers, 8 p.m. on ABC
🏀 Liberty at Mercury, 10 p.m. on CBS Sports Network