SAN FRANCISCO – With no experienced players in the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics won’t have much of a problem, says coach Ime Udoka, even against the final-known Golden State squad.
The Warriors, who hosted Thursday’s opener in the best-of-seven series, chased down the championship final for the sixth time in eight years and their fourth crown in that span, inspired by key veterans Clay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Drymond Green.
Boston has lost three Eastern Conference finals in the previous five seasons before moving on this year.
The Celtics chased down Brooklyn, then eliminated defending champions Milwaukee and former top pick Miami in the seventh-game winner-take-all showdown to reach the Promised Land.
The young team finds the pre-final hype unmatched.
“Of course it looks different,” said Celtic star Jason Tatum. “It simply came to our notice then. It certainly feels different. I’m sure basketball is still basketball. But everything that leads to it is the opposite of anything else. “
It doesn’t bother Vodoka, and he knows the championship series after winning a title as an assistant coach with San Antonio in 2014.
“Once you get out of the primary media circus and intensity and how everything is so much exaggerated, it’s not very different when you go to court,” Vodoka said.
“You have guys who are young but have already gone through a few Eastern Conference finals, and our way is this year, playing two Game Seven and some high-level teams.
“Taking a hard path, I think it has prepared us more than anything.”
Udoka’s support staff includes Ben Sullivan, the assistant coach of 2021 champion Milwaukee.
“As coaches, we went through it and won the championship ourselves. We can give advice on what is going to happen, “said Vodoka.
“But once we get out of there, what’s really good for our group is that they don’t get caught in a moment, play Sevens, play on the street.
“You see our record, and more than anything else, it’s basketball at the end of the day. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there. “
Celtic center Al Harford have played more post-season games than any other player in the league’s history that has failed to reach the NBA Finals.
“It simply came to our notice then. It’s still soaking wet, “said Harford.” It’s exciting.
“We want to be at that point. Now we have the opportunity. I am really happy, really grateful to be with this team at this time. “
It’s going to be juice
Celtics reserve guard Payton Pritchard thinks the thrill of a new experience will provide the energy for a quick start.
“I guess we’re going to get excited. We are going to make juice, ”he said. “Use it to our advantage to get out of the jump, run out, that’s all.”
German center Daniel Thiss has championship experience, although he admits that the crown of three German leagues with Bros. Bamberg is not the same as the proposal for the NBA final.
“It’s obviously two different leagues, but it’s an experience to be in a final and play in a championship,” Thiss said.
“We have been to the Eastern Conference finals before. Our team experience – the ups and downs of the past few years – the NBA Finals game is new to everyone. But as a team we are very close, and hopefully that will not affect us. “
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