The Golden State Warriors take on the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. These two franchises are among the pioneers of the North American League, which like them was founded in 1946.
For the 75th anniversary, the NBA is offering a historic finale, with Golden State looking to extend the Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson dynasty that started in 2015, and Boston looking for a record 18 crown under a new era, Jayson Tatum /Jaylen Brown.
These two emblematic franchises, who will face off in San Francisco on Thursday evening (3 a.m. Swiss time) in the first game of a series and crown the first to four victories, are among the pioneers of the basketball club League North American, which was founded like them in 1946.
They have accumulated no fewer than 23 league titles, including 17 for Boston. And strange as it may seem, they only faced each other once in the final.
In 1964, at the height of their supremacy, marked by winning nine straight championships, the C’s defeated the San Francisco Warriors amidst the rivalry of giants Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.
Boston at breakneck speed
This time the talented Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown get the chance to make their own history after other glorious veterans like Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird or Paul Pierce led the team to its recent title. in 2008.
If they succeed, they will offer Boston an 18th coronation to distance themselves from the Lakers, hated rivals who joined them at the top of the list in 2020 after beating Miami. Miami, which subsequently blocked the Celtics’ path to the Eastern Conference Finals in the Orlando bubble and which they retaliated on Sunday, led to a train from hell after a crucial Game 7 in Florida to cap six months.
Because in the middle of the season Boston is vegetating in the minus (20 wins – 21 defeats) in eleventh place from the playoff race. Then, under the guidance of his rookie coach Ime Udoka, an alchemy was created, bolstered by awareness of Tatum and Brown eager to prove they could play together and take the team to second place.
When the “Jay-Jay” are strong engines in attack, the rear guard is not left out, with Marcus Smart, voted the NBA’s best defenseman, and Robert Williams. Not to mention the physical impact of veteran Al Horford or the significant contribution of 6th man Derrick White.
In the playoffs, this very complete team defeated Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets, then dethroned Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks before defeating the Heat of the heroic Jimmy Butler. Enough to make them title favorites, according to ex-star Charles Barkley: “The Celtics will win the championship simply because they have the best collective.”
“I don’t think any of our players are impressed or intimidated by this moment. We understand what awaits us, we know the opponent,” Udoka assured.
This opponent is determined to exact revenge on the fate that ended their saga in 2019 when Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were badly injured in the lost final against Toronto. It was the fifth straight year Golden State had reached that stage, with three crowns (2015, 2017, 2018) as the key to another loss to Cleveland in 2016.
Crossing the desert will have taken two seasons. The time Stephen Curry breaks his hand, the team with the worst record in the 2019-2020 league hit rock bottom, Thompson swore he ruptured an Achilles tendon after tearing his cruciate ligament, coach Steve Kerr braces himself with patience, to rebuild after Durant’s departure to Brooklyn with young people (Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole…) who have now reached maturity.
The return to full light revolves around the original ‘Big 3’: the ‘Splash Brothers’ Curry/Thompson, arguably the best marksman duo in history, and Draymond Green, the team’s ‘warrior’ soul, as their ‘champion DNA’ “. Kerr fondly recalls speaking in the playoffs to shut out Denver and Nikola Jokic, Memphis and Ja Morant, Dallas and Luka Doncic.
“We can’t really teach her that DNA,” said Curry, MVP 2015 and 2016. Our frame and the way we play makes us unique and different.”
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