6-Time All-Star Sounds Off on How Celtics Can Make It Back to NBA Finals

Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs in a game against the Boston Celtics.

Getty Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs in a game against the Boston Celtics.

Making it to the NBA Finals isn’t easy, and making it back a second year in a row is even more difficult. The Boston Celtics already accomplished the first part of the equation, and next year, they will look to fight through the regular season, make it back to the Finals, and win.

It takes a special team to reach the Finals multiple years in a row, and the Celtics happen to have somebody on the team who’s done it. Only, that person isn’t a player, it’s Ime Udoka. In fact, Udoka did exactly what the Celtics are trying to do. He was an assistant coach on the San Antonio Spurs in 2013 when they lost in the Finals and then helped them make it back and win in 2014.

One of the players Udoka coached in San Antonio, Tony Parker, recently spoke about the Celtics and what they need to do in order to make it back to the Finals. As written by Jay King of The Athletic, Parker noted that the Spurs’ Finals loss helped them achieve their greatest brand of basketball and that Boston needs to harness that same energy.

“Tony Parker believes his team reached basketball nirvana because of an NBA Finals loss the previous season. As great as San Antonio teams were regularly during that time, Parker said motivation from a crushing loss to the Heat in 2013 drove the Spurs to what likely was the best hoops of their golden era. ‘For the Celtics,’ Parker said recently, ‘that’s what they have to do’,” King wrote.

In addition, Parker talked about what Udoka brought to the Spurs’ organization during their mid-2000s Finals runs and what he can bring to the Celtics.


What Udoka Brings to Celtics

The six-time All-Star point guard spoke about what Udoka can take from the Spurs’ runs. He said that if there’s a person who knows how to bounce back from a Finals run, it’s Udoka.

“He was with us in those years,” Parker explained. “So he can definitely take some stuff from what we had to go through. I played with him as teammates and had him as a coach. He’s been through everything with us, so he knows better than anybody how to bounce back from a tough NBA Finals loss.”

Udoka’s first year with the Celtics wasn’t an easy one, as the team started off the season struggling. It wasn’t until the second half of the season that they were able to turn things around, and a lot of that turnaround can be attributed to the players finally buying into Udoka’s system.

Parker even expanded upon the idea that San Antonio’s 2013 loss helped push them forward in 2014.


How Losing Finals Helps the Future

The Spurs point guard explained that, while the loss in 2013 stung, San Antonio wouldn’t have been able to win the championship in 2014 without that experience.

“For me, the way we lost in 2013, it created what happened in 2014,” Parker said. “Maybe one of the best finals in NBA history. Maybe the best Spurs basketball that we played. In 2014, the way we played, the passing game, everything, we were maybe at the highest level of my whole career. It started with a tough loss in 2013.”

Boston will now look to replicate what the Spurs did in 2013 and 2014 as Udoka hopes to help another team bounce back from a tough Finals loss.

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