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2022 NBA Finals: Veteran warriors, budding Celtics have a lot in common

By Melissa Rohlin
NBA Sports Writer FOX

SAN FRANCISCO – Jayson Tatum mesmerized by the sight.

There was a swarm of journalists from all over the world. The background behind it is decorated with the words “The Finals.” He was carried from obligation to obligation.

For a 24-year-old who is still new at this stage, it is a dream come true.

“I just brought it back to childhood, watching the Finals every year growing up,” he said. “Every kid can imagine themselves in the NBA and being in the Finals. But realizing your dreams in real time is an unreal feeling. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself.”

Warriors or Celtics — Best bet to win the NBA Finals?

Warriors or Celtics — Best bet to win the NBA Finals?

FOX Bet has the Golden State Warriors as favorites over the Boston Celtics to win the NBA Finals. Cousins ​​Sal and Clay Travis make their choice.

Superstar Warriors experienced NBA Finals Media Day very differently.

This is their sixth appearance in eight years. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are used to the bright lights, overwhelming pressure, and circus of it all.

In fact, Green says he is “an old head” now, which he only recently realized after spending time with his 19-year-old teammate Jonathan Kuminga.

“He looked at me like I might see a 55 year old man…” Green said.

The Warriors are a dynasty of the last decade.

Curry is the man the kids imitate when they shoot the ball in their driveway, shouting his name as they airball 50 feet. Green is the guy that coaches point to when they want to illustrate how far defense, rebounding and hustling can take you. Thompson is the cool marksman everyone wants, a guy who’s cooler than cool.

But to some extent, the Warriors saw themselves in the young Celtics, who had reached their first Finals since 2010.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr saw Green’s tenacity and intelligence in Marcus Smart, who won Defensive Player of the Year this season.

And he sees the Celtics’ success in emulating his team’s approach to framing players with great potential (Smart in 2014, Jaylen Brown in 2016 and Tatum in 2017), developing and retaining them. Or, in other words, showing patience which is rare in today’s league.

Don’t forget where the Warriors were a moment ago.

Curry was barely pegged as the next NBA superstar when the Warriors voted him seventh overall in 2009. Even fewer thought Thompson would progress to a five-time All-Star after being voted No. 11 in 2011. No one thought Green would be the league champion. exemplary defense after his draft-day fell to No. 35 in 2012.

But they all bought and turned into the best versions of themselves — and now a similar phenomenon is happening with the Celtics star.

“I think they were our age at the time, in our mid-20s,” Thompson said, referring to the time the Warriors won their first title in 2015. “You have to give that organization credit. I feel like Brown and Tatum and Smart are already on the scene. there for 10 years. They worked hard to get here, as we did. We respect them, and they present a unique challenge for us.”

The Celtics have been outstanding this season. They are in 11th place in the East through January 16, but they refuse to break.

When pundits said it was time to take drastic action and separate starlets Tatum and Brown, the team responded by getting closer. When pundits questioned whether coach Ime Udoka was a match, the Celtics responded by winning 26 of their last 32 matches, ending with the best defensive ranking in the league.

“I’m sure not many people thought we would get to this point,” said Tatum. “But there has always been a sense of belief between us and the group that we can get it done.”

Now, they will be up against the team with the best offensive ratings of the postseason.

For Tatum, it was all a journey.

He vividly remembers being in middle school in high school being glued to television when the Warriors won it all seven years ago. Now, he leads his team against them on the main stage in basketball.

There’s also a huge mystique in playing against Boston for the Warriors, who grew up admiring the franchise’s stories.

Thompson, whose father, Mychal, won two championships with the “Showtime” Lakers in 1987 and ’88, recalls his boyhood team losing to the Celtics in the 2008 Finals and then playing them again on that stage two years later.

“I watched them in college, Game 7 at Staples with my dad in 2010,” Thompson said. “And now it’s 12 years later, and I can play against the team I played against. But it was incredible.”

Even Kerr remembers being fascinated by the Celtics early in his playing career, when he started the game while several of his team-mates were injured.

“Larry Bird literally said, ‘Good luck, Steve,'” he recalls. “I was like, ‘You too, Larry.’ I was like, ‘What happened now?'”

Where the Celtics had the advantage over the Warriors in the NBA Finals

Where the Celtics had the advantage over the Warriors in the NBA Finals

Colin Cowherd plays the NBA Finals Faceoff, where he decides whether he prefers the Boston Celtics or the Golden State Warriors in points in paint, creativity, paint defense, training, leadership, chemistry, clutch, depth, and home-court advantage. Do you agree with Colin?

Now, the Celtics are on their way back to glory again. Everyone on the team poured themselves into defense. Everyone is hungry. And everyone wants to prove they belong.

A new head is coming. All that stood in their way was the old chief, who embodied everything they wished for.

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He has previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow him on Twitter @melissarohlin.


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2022 NBA Finals: Veteran warriors, budding Celtics have a lot in common

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