SAN FRANCISCO – The Boston Celtics have returned to the NBA Final for the first time in more than a decade, but first-year coach Ime Udoka said it was no reason for celebration.
“We did not hang the banner [for that] Here, “Utoka said about winning the Eastern Conference.” This is a big picture. I think the guys’ mood changed very quickly.
“Enjoy it. Taste it guys, you have this time. Even [Sunday] In night media sessions [after Game 7]And apparently in the locker room with us, guys are already talking about what’s next and the bigger picture.
“This is not what we came to do. You just enjoy it and get the job done quickly.”
That task, of course, is to find a way to beat the Golden State Warriors, who have won three championships and made five straight trips to the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019 before missing out on the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
As a result, the Golden State 123 Games team enters the series with a combined NBA Final experience. On the other hand, not a single player who appeared in the final in Boston is on its list.
However, Utoka said he was not worried about the experience gap, pointing to the experience he and his assistant coaches had in the final, including when he won the title of assistant Ben Sullivan with Milwaukee Bucks last year and the title of Utoga coach. Many finals with San Antonio Spurs and the playoff experience gained by his players.
“I can tell, because being there, I know what’s going on, we’re already sharing some of those stories and some of the coaches on my staff who have been there and won championships,” Utoga said. “So from that standpoint, that’s what it is. We’ll have some meetings with the group and talk about those things. But I think, in general, we have a very mature team, especially with our younger comrades. Al [Horford] And Marcus [Smart], And our players are always very equal and keep us in line until then. And then I didn’t really care Jason [Tatum], Jaylan [Brown] And younger comrades who are not on this platform. Like I said, they came to the finals of the Eastern Conference several times and took that step, so we know what lies ahead of us.
“We know what we’re playing for here, and I think none of our comrades are scared or intimidated at this time. We understand what it is. We know the enemy in front of us. It’s not going away. We’re really looking forward to it. There’s not much worry or anxiety. We’ll take this time.
As part of that relaxation and preparation, the Celtics will also have the opportunity to allow Robert Williams III Manage the left knee pain that plagued him throughout the playoffs and breathe wisely from various ailments of his right leg, including his quadriceps, ankle and foot.
Williams missed three games against Bucks in the semifinals of the conference and three games against the Miami Heat in the final of the Eastern Conference, due to a bone injury in his left knee – he underwent menstrual surgery in late March. Missed the end of the regular season and the start of Boston’s first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets.
Utoga said the rest would be useful for Williams, but that – as coach Coach previously said – would allow Williams to manage his knees throughout the other playoffs.
“Rob is fine,” Utoga said. “He was good. He felt good. His minutes were short and he only played 14 inches [Game 7 against Miami]. We tried to keep him in the lower area if possible. Obviously, it would be beneficial for him to move forward, but so would the holidays. So he should feel better in general. Seen today and will continue to receive treatment and rehab and get the swelling down and get back some of the pain and movement. So as I mentioned it will be something that happens constantly. He’s beautiful day by day throughout the playoffs. “
With two days off between games 3 and 4 in Boston, Utoka added that Williams should benefit from the widespread nature of the NBA Finals.
“[He] Instead of playing every day, these two days between games should feel good with the holidays and the time in between. I think, going back to the Milwaukee series, we played straight for 17 days a day so it’s going to affect you coming out of a surgery. We’ll put his minutes down and make him feel good again, and obviously it will help us move forward. “
As for Smart, who missed games 1 and 4 against Miami – first midfield sprain, then ankle sprain – Utoga said he was fine after playing heavy minutes in Boston’s Game 7 win against Miami.
“Marcus, no worries about that,” Utoga said. “It’s that swelling. It will dissolve as time goes on.
“Pain tolerance is a thing, he can obviously play a lot, he did it [in Game 7] And played heavy minutes. “