The Boston Celtics will play the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is embracing his second chance to win a first NBA championship.

The Celtics advanced to the NBA finals with a sweep of the Indiana Pacers and will engage the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 on Thursday night at the TD Garden.

The Celtics were the young up-and-coming team matched up against an aging dynasty when they encountered the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA finals. The Celtics lost the series 4-2 and were beaten at home 103-90 in the deciding Game 6 on June 16.

“There was a lot myself and we can learn from the experience of being in the finals and this time, this go-around is a lot different.” said Tatum after Saturday’s practice at the Auerbach Center in Brighton.

“Obviously we’ve been there before and we came up short. It was a great opportunity to make it to the finals again and you don’t always get a second chance. So, I’m really just looking at it as a second chance and trying to simplify things as much as we can. It’s just another series we’ve got to win.”

Tatum and the Celtics learned the hard truth that talent alone does not guarantee success in the 2019 NBA playoffs. The tandem of Tatum and shooting guard Jaylen Brown were at the onset of a new era in team history that season, but the club was piloted by Mavericks’ point guard Kyrie Irving.

Irving experienced a falling out with the Boston fan base near the end of his tumultuous two-year tenure in Celtics’ green. The Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers in the opening round but were eliminated 4-2 by the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“I think just learning that a talented team … and it is not just talent that is going to take you over the top,” said Tatum. “To have guys that are willing to sacrifice, guys that are willing to do the other things in order for the team to have a chance.

“It wasn’t just like a Kyrie thing. It was all of us. I think it was all of us, we all took part in why that season wasn’t a success. We all learned from it and moved on.

“Some of us stayed here and some of us left and have done great things since that season. I just look at that as a learning experience for my second year.”

One of the guys that decamped after the 2019 debacle was Irving, who brought his emotional baggage with him to the Brooklyn Nets. Irving’s tenure with the Nets proved to be another unsatisfactory stopover on the disgruntled superstar’s journey through the NBA. Irving lasted two and a half seasons in Brooklyn.

Irving was traded to the Mavericks on Feb. 6, 2023, and he appears to have found a fulfilling role on head coach Jason Kidd’s roster. Irving and All-NBA first team point guard Luka Doncic have the Mavericks sitting four games away from the franchise’s second NBA championship.

“It does seem like that Dallas has obviously been a great fit for him getting to the NBA finals,” said Tatum, who joined Doncic on the 2024 All-NBA first team.

“The staff and the team, they all just kind of jelled together and it is great to see Ky out there playing at such a high level. He’s doing all the special things we love to see him do and have fun doing it.”

After completing the sweep on the Pacers in Indiana on Monday, May 27, the Celtics had to wait three days before finding out they would be playing the Mavericks. Dallas eliminated the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-103 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night at Target Arena.

That adds up to nine days between Game 4 against Indiana and Game 1 against Dallas. Maintaining a competitive edge can be difficult when the downtime is filled primarily with drills, practices, film study, and scrimmages.

“This is unique for a lot of us,” said Tatum. “The quickest we’ve ever got through a first and second and obviously a third round.

“A lot of the previous years we’ve had a couple of 7-game series that just kind of extend the playoffs. I think was great for us to close out a series when we were supposed to and to have this nice break. The work we put in in the regular season and that we get to start the finals at home.”

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