The Boston Celtics are back in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, and Marcus Smart knows the team will be prepared to face the Golden State Warriors once the championship round begins on Thursday.
After beating the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, Smart told reporters the Celtics are ready to rise to the challenge against the Warriors.
"No matter what adversity is put in front of us, no obstacle, no loop, we're going to get through it, we're going to get over it, we're going to get around it. That was just how we live our lives on the court. We really, truly believe that. We know we're going up against a great team with the Warriors, great players, great organization. They have the track record to prove it. They know exactly what it takes. They've been here. They're vets. We know we've got a long road in front of us, but we're up for the challenge."
The Celtics' road to the NBA Finals wasn't easy.
While the C's swept the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs, they still had to face some of the league's best in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Then in the semifinals, Boston faced arguably its toughest challenge in Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics defeated the Bucks 109-81 in Game 7 at TD Garden thanks to a sensational 27-point outing from Grant Williams along with a dominant defensive effort.
Then came the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami, where the Celtics defeated the Heat in Game 7—their first road victory in a Game 7 since the 1974 NBA Finals. Smart finished Game 7 with 24 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Jaylen Brown added 24 points, six rebounds and six assists. Tatum led the Celtics with 26 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block.
The challenge will be much greater against the Warriors in the NBA Finals as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green aim to win their fourth championship in eight years. Aside from those three, the Dubs have also received impressive performances from Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and Kevon Looney this postseason.
The Celtics and Warriors split their 2021-22 regular-season meetings. The Warriors defeated the Celtics at TD Garden on December 17, and Boston beat Golden State on the road on March 16.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is set for Thursday night at Chase Center in San Francisco.