The Celtics have played in the playoffs 59 times in their glorious history, playing 21 finals and winning 17 league titles (a record shared with the Lakers). Winning the conference finals, the first since 2010, is therefore important, but not enough.
That was the essence of Ime Udoka’s speech after winning the 7th match in Miami and before this 22nd participation in the final against Golden State.
“All this will be useless if we fail after us in the final.” I know that “confides at a press conference. “The boys celebrated, but they moved on quickly because there are four matches left to win. We don’t celebrate a conference title at Celtics. We accept this perfection. »
In the footsteps of Steve Kerr and Tyronna Lue?
Isn’t he still happy for his first season on the bench to qualify for the grand final? A little obviously, but he thinks mainly of his players.
“We can’t smile and enjoy this moment on the floor,” the former Spurs assistant continues. “We have no choice, we see the joy of the players.” I am glad that they have finally overcome this obstacle. I was spoiled as an assistant during my first years in the league (Final in 2013 and winner in 2014) and Ben Sullivan was at that level last season (with Milwaukee). But for Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, who have already lost in the conference finals, I am extremely happy. We have a smile on our face. »
Ime Udoka will now try to be the tenth coach in NBA history to win the title in his first year on the bench as a “head coach”. This was evidently common in the league’s beginnings with Eddie Gottlieb (1947), Buddy Jeannett (1948), John Kundla (1949) and George Senesky (1956).
Then it took 25 years for such an act to reappear with Paul Westhead (1980) and then Pat Riley (1982). In the end, Steve Kerr (2015), Tyronn Lue (2016) and Nick Nurse (2019) have done it again in recent years.