It’s been 12 years since the Boston Celtics went to the NBA Finals. Over that span, they’ve been one of the final four teams five different times and they’ve only missed the postseason once.
There was the Big Three’s last-ditch effort at a second title in 2012, which ultimately became the turning point in LeBron James’ career and led to his first ring. There was Isaiah Thomas’ super-human season in 2017 that led the C’s to another ECF appearance against LeBron, followed by an improbable meeting with that same team in 2018 led by rookie Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Smart among others. Then we had another matchup with Miami in the bubble a couple years ago that fell short. If you go all the way back to their ECF loss to the New Jersey Nets in 2002, the C’s are actually one of the most successful franchises of the 21st century despite only having one title.
This has been a long time coming, and for nobody more than Al Horford. Horford has played in 141 playoff games over the course of his 15-year career and this is his first trip to the final round. For 24 year-old Jayson Tatum, this is the next step that he needed to take towards being an undisputed top five player in the NBA.
The C’s will take on the Warriors in the final round, a team with championship pedigree that’s far more familiar with this stage. The good news Boston is the only team in the NBA to have a winning record (9-8) over Golden State during the Steve Kerr era.
Game one will take place in San Francisco this Thursday. Tip-off at 9 pm.
PS: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can play together just fine.