Last season, the Boston Celtics didn’t get off to a great start. However, after a miraculous mid-season turnaround, they made a run to the NBA Finals before ultimately being defeated by the Golden State Warriors in six games. Despite that, they’re now in a great position to make yet another run.
Jayson Tatum led the charge for the Celtics last year and now finds himself in MVP conversations this season. His success even has some other NBA stars asking for his thoughts. A video filmed for the Pure Sweat Basketball YouTube channel recently resurfaced on Twitter, and it depicts Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid asking Tatum about his experience in the Finals.
“Did you feel the pressure?” Embiid asked Tatum.
“Nah, the first game was like, I wasn’t nervous in the morning,” Tatum explained. When we ran out there for warm-ups, it hit me, how much was on the line.”
“Tryna figure out how it is so I can make it next year,” Embiid revealed with a smile.
“I know one thing, once you get there, if you don’t get back, don’t s*** else matter,” said Tatum.
So far this year, the Celtics are the first seed in the Eastern Conference and favorites to win the championship. However, the 76ers aren’t far behind them, and Embiid is putting up MVP-caliber numbers for the third season in a row, fighting Tatum and a few other stars in that race.
Up to this point, Philadelphia has had far less playoff success than Boston, especially over the past few seasons. Tatum has eliminated the 76ers from the playoffs not once, but twice, going 8-1 against Embiid and the Sixers in those two series.
In Embiid’s defense, however, the 76ers have a much more complete roster this year. James Harden is playing at an extremely high level, Tobias Harris is finding his footing as a complementary piece, and everything seems to be clicking.
Only time will tell if Embiid can get over the giant Celtics thorn that has been sticking in his side for his entire career.
Marcus Smart Praises Blake Griffin’s Hustle
It could be particularly hard for Embiid to take down the Celtics this year, though, as the vibes seem to be at an all-time high in Boston. After Blake Griffin’s recent hustle play against the Detroit Pistons, Marcus Smart praised the veteran, giving some insight into just how close this locker room has gotten.
“Loved it, man. I loved that. For Blake and for this team,” Smart told CLNS Media when asked about Griffin’s dive. “Those guys have been playing their butts off since me, Jayson, Jaylen, and a couple of other starters have been out, and we’ve been loving every last minute of it. For Blake to come in and understand that he’s not the same Blake Griffin he was a couple of years ago — his minutes are down — but he’s still a professional. To come in and give his body up on the line for his teammates, I don’t see how you don’t get excited for that. We all just want to make sure we show that and give him his roses.”
Celtics Make Joe Mazzulla Full-Time Head Coach
In other news, the Celtics have finally made an official decision regarding Joe Mazzulla, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN reported that the team has made Mazzulla their full-time head coach, removing the interim title. He also earned a contract extension.
“The Celtics have announced Joe Mazzulla has been named the team’s permanent head coach…As part of the announcement, the Celtics also say Mazzulla has received a contract extension,” Bontemps Tweeted.