SAN FRANCISCO — The Boston Celtics are back in the NBA Finals for the first time in more than a decade, but head coach Imm Odoka said that’s no cause for celebration.
We don’t put up a banner [for that] Here, Odoka said, referring to the Eastern Conference win, “It’s a bigger picture. I think the minds of the guys have flipped very quickly.
“Enjoy it. Guys enjoy it, and you have this vacation. So [Sunday] At night in media sessions [after Game 7]And obviously in the dressing room, the guys are already talking about what’s next and the bigger picture at hand.
“It’s not what we came to do. You enjoy it and you move on quickly to the task at hand.”
That job, of course, is to find a way to beat the Golden State Warriors, who won three championships and made five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019 before missing the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.
As a result, Golden State enters this series with 123 games of the NBA Collegiate Finals experience. Boston, on the other hand, does not have a single player on its roster who has appeared in a final.
However, Odoka said he’s not worried about the experience gap, citing the experience he and his assistant coaches have in the Finals, including assistant Ben Sullivan who won a title with the Milwaukee Bucks last year and Odoka himself winning a title after coaching him. Multiple finals with the San Antonio Spurs, and the amount of experience clincher for his players.
“I can say, being there, I know what’s going on and we’ve already shared some of those stories as well as some of the other coaches on my team who have been there and won championships,” Odoka said. “From that point of view, that’s what it is. We’re going to have some meetings with the group and talk about these things. But I think, in general, we have a very mature group, especially with our guys. The [Horford] And the Marcus [Smart], and our veterans are always on top and keep us in line just as much. And then I’m not really worried Jason [Tatum]And the Jaylen [Brown] And young people who were not at this stage. Like I said, they’ve reached the Eastern Conference Finals a few times and made that move, so we know what’s ahead.
“We know what we’re playing for here, and I don’t think any of our guys are ever intimidated or intimidated by this moment. We understand what it is. We know the opponent in front of us. And for us, as always, this year has been business as usual. .that we’re going on the road, and it didn’t bother me at all. We’re really looking forward to it. There’s not a lot of anxiety or tension. We have this time that we’re going to take advantage of, in terms of resting and getting ready, getting ready to launch into Game 1.”
As part of this convenience and preparation, the Celtics team will also have the opportunity to allow Robert Williams III To deal with the sore left knee he had during qualifying, and for Smart to take breaths from a variety of ailments up and down his right leg, including the quad, ankle and foot.
Williams missed three games against the Bucks in the Conference semifinals and game three against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals after sustaining a bony contusion to his left knee — the same one he had meniscus surgery in late March, which left him bruised to the bone. . Miss the end of the regular season and the start of the first round series for Boston against the Brooklyn Nets.
Odoka said the rest would be good for Williams, but – as the coach previously said – Williams will have to manage the knee throughout the rest of the playoffs.
“Rob is fine,” said Odoka. “He’s good. He felt good. His minutes were low, and he played 14 in just [Game 7 against Miami]. We tried to keep it at the bottom if we could. Obviously, this is good for him moving forward, but days off as well. So he should feel better overall. Have a look at him today and he will continue to get his treatment and rehab and to get the swelling and some pain and movement back. And so it will be an ongoing thing, as you mentioned. He plays day in and day out pretty much during the playoffs.”
Odoka added that Williams, in particular, should take advantage of the pervasive nature of the NBA Finals, with two rest days between each game except for games 3 and 4 in Boston.
“[He] You should feel better with the time in between, especially with those two days off between games, rather than playing every other day. And I think, going back to the Milwaukee streak, we’ve been playing 17 straight days every other day, and that’s going to affect your exit from surgery. We’re keeping him on record and making him feel better, and that’s obviously going to benefit us going forward.”
As for Smart, who missed games 1 and 4 against Miami — first with a midfoot sprain, then a sprained ankle — Odoka said he was fine after playing heavy minutes in Boston’s Game 7 win over Miami.
“Marcus, there is no concern about that,” said Odoka. “The swelling is what it is. It will dissipate with time.
“The thing that endures pain, obviously can play a lot, and he did [in Game 7] They played heavy minutes.”
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