Celtics co-stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have spent seven seasons together, made five Eastern Conference finals appearances, and one NBA Finals appearance, inching close as can be on Wednesday night.

Boston fended off a desperate Mavericks team in Game 3, escaping with a 106-99 win and a commanding 3-0 series lead. And at center court, Tatum and Brown shared an embracing moment, combining for 61 points to bring the Celtics a single victory shy of bringing the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to Boston for the first time since 2008.

“Just you know showing the emotions of the game,” Tatum said, per a league-provided transcript. “Two guys that was excited, tired, that you know, after the game, we just — we’re not necessarily saying like one more or anything like that. We are just saying, however long it takes. Nobody is relaxed. Nobody is satisfied. Just at that moment, you know, just told him I was proud of him and he said the same thing; that we’ve got to keep fighting. We can’t relax. And that was basically the conversation.”

It’s been a patient, frustration-filled journey for Tatum and Brown, who two years ago, grabbed a 2-1 lead over the Warriors in the 2022 Finals. As the story goes, Golden State won three straight and showered in confetti and champagne at TD Garden in Game 6 while the Celtics walked away with their heads down in disappointment.

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This time, it’s Boston leaving Dallas discouraged, shocked, and left with two options: make history or get a head start on offseason plans.

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“Big-time win,” Brown said when asked about the moment, as seen on ESPN. “Man, it’s been a long time coming. That was a big-time win for us. I’m proud of how (Tatum) played today, came out, was aggressive from the start and he helped us get a victory tonight.”

Brown added: “We kept our poise. We made timely baskets, we got some good shots going in, and we found a way to win.”

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The Celtics earned their 3-0 lead, turning a blown 21-point lead into a 13-7 run in the final 3:35 to stiff-arm the Mavericks, who lost Luka Doncic to a foul out with 4:12 left in the fourth quarter. Yet another example of how Boston turned its testing moment into a clutch escape, adding a 10th consecutive postseason victory to its run.

That’s now three down, and one left to go until Banner 18.

Featured image via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images