Consider the parallels: The 2015 Warriors had a first-time, first-team All-NBA player in Stephen Curry, a first-year coach in Steve Kerr and a trio of young standouts — Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — serving as the franchise cornerstones.
The 2022 Celtics have a first-time, first-team All-NBA player in Jayson Tatum, a first-year coach in Ime Udoka and a trio of young standouts — Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown — serving as the franchise cornerstones.
These Celtics won their NBA Finals debut. The rest of the story — whether they’ll win a championship or not — will play out over the next week or two. But make no mistake: If there was any doubt about whether this Boston team could truly contend for a title, it surely evaporated with a dazzling fourth quarter that fueled a 120-108 win over the Warriors in Game 1 of the finals on Thursday night.
“It just says what we’ve been doing all year,” Smart said. “We’ve been counted out all year. Rightfully so. We’ve had moments. But we continue to fight. That’s who we are. I think over the last couple months, that’s our identity. I think it stuck with us for a reason.”