Boston v Golden State: Opposite trajectories intersect in the NBA Finals

When they take to the court at 10:00 pm (Brasilia time) this Thursday (2) in San Francisco (United States) to start deciding the 2021/22 NBA title, the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors teams will star one of the most peculiar examples of clash between past and present. The Boston Celtics are the biggest winners in North American league history, with 17 titles – the same total as the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom they share the biggest rivalry in the association’s 75 years of existence. Golden State has six, half of them won since 2015, when they lined up five consecutive finals – the first four against the Cleveland Cavaliers – a streak hitherto unheard of. However, the two antagonists of the 2022 decision have virtually no traces of rivalry with each other. They disputed the title only once, in 1964. But that’s not where the great curiosity of this confrontation of (far away) giants resides.Boston v Golden State: Opposite trajectories intersect in the NBA FinalsBoston v Golden State: Opposite trajectories intersect in the NBA Finals

Boston, even with such a winning history, has won only one of the 17 trophies in its collection in the last 35 years (in 2008). It hasn’t been to a final since 2010. And, in its squad, it doesn’t even have an athlete who has already played in a Finals match. The most emblematic case is that of the Dominican forward Al Horford. On the eve of his 36th birthday, he will end a fast that put him on a league record list. After 141 playoff games, he will finally play in an NBA Finals series duel. No one had ever played so many knockout matches before finally reaching the main stage of world basketball.

In short, if historically the team is almost synonymous with dominance in the league, in the recent past it is a team on the rise reaching for the first time to a level that it failed to reach four times in the last decade, when it stopped in the Eastern Conference Finals (2011- 12, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2019-20).

On the other hand, the opponent of this decision practically rebuilt his reputation in the collective imagination from scratch through an extremely victorious generation that, like the Celtics today, landed in the Finals without any previous experience. In 2014-15, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green made their decision making debuts carrying Golden State to a title after 40 years. Since then, they’ve built the team into perhaps the most recognizable NBA product in the world. To give you an idea, by exploding in the midst of the social media era, the Warriors took off to become the franchise with the most followers among all 30 on Instagram (23.4 million), more even than the Lakers and almost four times more than the Celtics and also has almost twice as many Twitter followers as the team they face in the final (7.4 million versus 3.8 million).

Altogether, the Golden State Warriors athletes have 123 Finals matches under their belt, which have made them living legends of the league, with titles and recognition. Something that opponents on the court are still chasing. The Boston Celtics’ top names are still young. Jaylen Brown is 25 and Jayson Tatum is 24.

“It won’t be easy. We know we have a tough task ahead. They’ve been here several times, they’ve won several times. But I’m looking forward to this moment”, revealed Tatum after qualifying for the final.

Curry, the biggest star of the match, also seems aware of the size of the challenge of increasing the personal and team legacy – which, in case of a title, would pass the Chicago Bulls and isolate itself as the third with the most achievements, just behind Boston. Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

“They have a great group, they’ve been together for the last four, five years and they’ve proven they’re ready for battle. It’s a well-rounded team, but we come in confident, knowing we can win. But obviously we respect them, with Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford. I’m sure they’re as motivated as we are.”

Team building

Not only of opposites lives this decision. The great similarity between the teams is in the construction of the rosters. As there are no youth categories in the NBA, the closest a franchise comes to effectively forming an athlete is by selecting him in the draft, the recruiting of rookies that happens every season. Both Boston and Golden State relied on the long-term process, developing their players in-house rather than frequently scouring the market for new names.

On both teams, five of the seven highest scoring athletes in those playoffs made it to the teams via draft. The oldest part of the Warriors is Stephen Curry, selected in 2009. Jordan Poole, 22, arrived in 2019. In Boston, the current team began to be formed with the arrival of Marcus Smart, sixth pick in the 2014 draft. in 2019, the team selected Grant Williams. This organic growth of the two teams contrasts with what is happening around the league, which is experiencing one of the times of greatest movement of stars between teams. Both teams have also looked for stars in the market (Kyrie Irving in Boston, Kevin Durant in Golden State), but the current formations no longer have these talents and use much more of the “silver of the house”.

In the middle of the NBA, opponents have in common an emphasis on creating a good basketball culture, which makes it easier for players to cut.

“To me, culture means what athletes feel when they walk into the gym every day. What do they experience? How does it feel? Whatever it is, that’s culture. Even when we had the worst record in the league two years ago. , we stay true to that. Working, enjoying and understanding that this is a place for them to improve and make the most of their talent. We are here for that”, says Steve Kerr, Warriors coach since 2014.

Another point of similarity between the teams is their aptitude for defense. In terms of defensive efficiency (points conceded for every 100 possessions), the Celtics were first and the Warriors second during the regular season. The expectation is to see not only a duel between who scores the most, but especially who makes the other’s life more difficult. And speaking of work, during Golden State’s golden years, from 2014 onwards, only one team has more wins than losses against the boggarts of the modern NBA era: precisely the Boston Celtics, with nine triumphs and seven setbacks.

“We played well against them this year, including a convincing win at the end of the regular season (110-88 on March 16). Obviously it’s a tough challenge, but I believe we are prepared for the challenge of defending all their actions outside of the ball, with all the great shooters they have”, explains coach Ime Udoka, in his first season as coach of an NBA team and who, interestingly, has already been in two finals as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs (runner-up in 2013 and champion in 2014).

Source link

Previous Story

Covid-19: 12.4 million people are already receiving a booster dose

Latest from Brasil