Sports Minute – Passing of the Torch?

By Nick Adamopoulos –

The Boston Celtics play Game 1 of the NBA Finals tonight. The Celtics travel to California to take on the Golden State Warriors in the Celtics’ first Finals appearance since 2010. The series will match up the first- and second-best defenses in the league and has star power on both sides. The Celtics bring their young star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to their first finals along with Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart. The Warriors will be led by their Big Three of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Curry, Thompson, and Green are three-time NBA Champions winning in 2015, 2017, and 2018.

The similarities between the 2022 Celtics and the 2015 Warriors gives Celtics’ fans hope that this series could be the start of something special for their young squad. The Celtics squad is led by talent drafted by the organization in Tatum, Brown, Smart, and Robert Williams. The Warriors were led by their own drafted talent in Curry, Green, and Thompson. Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr and Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka are both former NBA players who have found success in the coaching ranks. Kerr led the 2015 Warriors to the finals and the championship; Udoka is hoping to do the same with the 2022 Celtics.

The similarities between the 2015 Warriors and 2022 Celtics do not stop there. Both teams finished their respective seasons with the number one rated defense in the league.  The 2015 Warriors finished first that season in Net Rating, while the 2022 Celtics finished this season second in Net Rating. 

Boston fans are hopeful that their young nucleus can overcome the veteran talent of Golden State. A series and finals win against the Warriors could be a transitional moment for the two franchises and the league. A Celtics win would be a passing of the torch moment, the potential end of a seven-year run of dominance by the Warriors to hopefully the start of a new Boston Dynasty. Curry, Thomas, and Green were able to hoist the O’Brien trophy in 2015 ending a 40-year championship drought. Tatum, Brown, and Smart are looking to end Boston’s own 14-year drought. 

Most franchises and fan bases would be happy to be in the NBA Finals. Franchises would be ecstatic to have their team in the finals after the slow start and team chemistry issues the Celtics had prior to December. Some franchises (cough cough the Indianapolis Colts) are proud to display Conference Championships at their arenas. 

While most franchises would be happy to have gotten as far as the Celtics have to this point, those franchises don’t play in Boston. As Udoka said shortly after the Celtics beat the Miami Heat in Game 7, “we don’t celebrate Eastern Conference Championships in this organization, we don’t hang those banners.”

The Celtics are four wins away from raising Banner 18 to the Garden Rafters. Those are the banners that this franchise and fan base demands. To get that far, the Celtics will need to play their best basketball against the best team over the last ten seasons. The Celtics are four wins away from grabbing the torch away from Golden State and bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Boston. 

The Warriors might be favorites going into the series, but the Celtics have been the best team in the NBA since the start of 2022. 


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