Celtics one championship from passing Lakers as most of all time

The Boston Celtics are poised for their 18th NBA championship, a triumph that would surpass the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in league history. The Celtics, making their first NBA Finals appearance since 2022, aim to secure their first title since 2008. This gap is the second-longest in team history, trailing only the 1987-2007 stretch.

Their Finals berth comes after a dominant run in the Eastern Conference playoffs, dispatching Miami in five games, Cleveland in five, and Indiana in a four-game sweep. The Celtics clinched their spot with a narrow 105-102 victory over the Pacers in Game 4.

Orlando, Florida, USA, October 22, 2022, Boston Celtics Forward Jaylen Brown #7 makes a dunk during the first half at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Despite competitive games, Boston’s potent offense and stifling defense prevailed. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum shone, while Derrick White and Jrue Holiday established themselves as the league’s premier two-way backcourt. Veteran Al Horford, stepping in for the injured Kristaps Porzingis, provided stability and experience. The Celtics, boasting a 12-2 postseason record and riding a seven-game win streak, have navigated the playoffs with few setbacks.

The Celtics, the East’s top seed with a league-best 64 wins, were expected to reach this stage. But mere Finals participation isn’t enough for this storied franchise. “I don’t know if celebrate is the right word,” White remarked after eliminating the Pacers. His sentiment echoes the team’s championship-or-bust mindset.

Under the leadership of owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca, the Celtics have been perennial contenders. President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens has been given the resources to build a formidable roster, resulting in the NBA’s best regular-season record at 64-18. The team’s success hinges on the All-NBA talent of Tatum, the defensive prowess of Brown, White, and Holiday, and the expected return of Porzingis.

Orlando, Florida, USA, October 22, 2022, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum #0 during the first quarter at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

For Boston, anything less than a championship is unacceptable. “Our mindset is very clear,” Horford stated. “We need to finish.”

The Celtics will face either the Dallas Mavericks or the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Finals, with Dallas likely advancing given their 3-0 series lead.

Since drafting Brown in 2016 and Tatum in 2017, the Celtics have reached the conference finals six times. Their previous five attempts saw them fall to LeBron James’ Cavaliers twice, the Miami Heat in the 2020 bubble, advance to the Finals in 2022, and lose to Miami last season. They also faced early exits against Milwaukee in 2019 and Brooklyn in 2021.

With coaching changes from Brad Stevens to Ime Udoka and now Joe Mazzulla, the Celtics have evolved. Stevens’ front office moves, including acquiring White, Holiday, and Porzingis, have enhanced the roster.

The narrative of falling short in crucial moments looms large over the team. This season, the Celtics are the most talented they’ve been in years. Their quest for the title boils down to four more wins, aiming to secure their 18th championship.

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