What Ime Udoka said to spark the Celtics’ career in Game 1

SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden State Warriors just scored an amazing 38 points in the third frame of Game One of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics Thursday night.

For a Celtics who pride themselves on the defensive end, it was a punch in the gut. The Warriors were resting at level 12. The audience was deafening inside Chase Center, as two fans roamed the 126-section lobby shouting, “We’re about to go 2-0 up after Sunday.”

Feeling the competition fading away, and before the fourth quarter started, a spirited Celtics head coach, Im Odoka, took his seat, looked his team in the eyes and issued a powerful challenge consisting of a descriptor that not many first-year coaches could pronounce. .

“I got really immersed outside,” Odoka told Yahoo Sports about the challenge he had before the final quarter. “They are teasing us now. Is this how you want to go out? This is not us. Let’s at least give ourselves a chance.”

from there, challenge accepted The message is received.

The Warriors high-octane attack was set to 16 points in the fourth quarter while giving up 40 pieces led to massive collapse that decided their fate.

Boston stole the game 1 With some inspiring play on both ends of the pitch, win 120-108.

The players insisted that their coach’s challenge hit home.

“For anyone, I feel like this is challenging us to step up and stop being so thin,” striker Grant Williams told Yahoo Sports of Udoka. “He’s not afraid to tell anyone. He was yelling at me [Jaylen Brown] And whoever’s in the game while we’re running down the field is telling us to toughen up the situation. That’s what you love about Im. Say it as it is.

“It’s something we need to hear,” Derek White told Yahoo Sports. “We were challenged to get tough and we did.”

Boston Celtics coach Im Odoka speaks to his team during a fourth-quarter stoppage against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center in San Francisco on June 2, 2022. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Boston Celtics coach Im Odoka speaks to his team during a fourth-quarter stoppage against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center in San Francisco on June 2, 2022. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Stephen Curry exploded for 30 points in the first three quarters, but was limited to four points on 2 of 6 in the last period.

“If we’re going out, let’s play the way we play. That’s all I’ve been asking for,” Odoka told Yahoo Sports. “I’m glad the guys responded.”

The win on the road was even more impressive considering Jason Tatum scored 12 points on 3 of 17 from the field. Other players stepped up.

Al Horford produced a team high of 26 points and was 6 to 8 from downtown, Brown gave 24 points as a standing arm and Wyatt’s reserve guard scored 21 points and was 5 of 8 from long distance.

Overall, the Celtics team converted 21 triples in 41 attempts.

The crowd turned from noisy to speechless within minutes. The fans’ faces were shocked as they watched their team collapse.

With the introduction of an extra rest day in the Finals, Golden State will have to wait until Sunday to recover a bit.

“It’s definitely a tough feeling,” Curry said after the match. “Nobody wants to sit on that for the next couple of days and sit around and wait to see how big Game 2 is for us. But [we have to] Stay locked up, stay focused and stay confident in who we are and what we can do, and the fact that this streak is just getting started.”

Odoka has earned the respect of his team, as he was a former player who had to scrap every chance to stay in the league.

This team is taking on the identity of its coach, and it paid off in time on Thursday.

It was a clear challenge, ‘Are we going to sit here and let them get to where they want, or are we going to make things difficult,’ Payton Pritchard told Yahoo Sports of Udoka. “Are we going to stand up, make it hard and be physical or are we going to lie down?” was his message. It worked.