Game 3 of the NBA Finals was an x-ray of what is at stake. The Boston Celtics, the most winning franchise in history, with a cult basketball, of reflection, against the dynamic Golden State Warriors, supported by the unique talent of Stephen Currythe warm hand of Klay Thompson and the rebirth of Andrew Wiggins.
This game, vital whichever way you look at it, was something like displaying the cards spread out on the cloth. A confession of parties, relay of evidence: the game of traditional basketball against the deep vertigo of talent. What once seemed finished against the world that seemed to take it all. This sport, unlike its competitors, is dynamic, changing and evolutionary learning.
The Celtics propose, then, a return to basketball that until 2022 seemed primitive. Built in silence, in the shadow of others. This was the dream of Ime Udoka, who was born as an assistant to Gregg Popovich at Spurs. Start with defense to find solutions in attack. Distribute responsibilities in such a way that no one is essential. Go step by step on the ladder to success. Because this, at this point, already is without a doubt. Who gave the Celtics serious chances of being champions before the season started? Whoever raises their hand is lying.
Boston is the sum of the parts based on success. And it is a team of continued redemption, because that third quarter yesterday, with Curry on fire as in his best times, would have been lethal for any team with doubts of character. But these Celtics are not the same as previous years: there is experience and learning along the way. This is a green formula built in the lab years ago, with test tubes passed from Brad Stevens to Udoka. There is improvement of individuals without histrionic boasting, there is basketball-culture with clear functions. There is attitude, determination and conviction built with the chisel. How difficult it is to bring this team down completely. It is not enough to blow hard: what once seemed like a house of cards today is iron etched in fire.
It is much more difficult to cover twelve holes than one. The team over the individual, sports back to back based on a common goal. When that happens, when the mind goes into full focus, there is no wonder from Curry, throw from Thompson or abusive yell from Draymond Green that can change history.
The Celtics take NBA lovers back to nostalgic times of another basketball that seemed to sleep in a chest. A revamped version of the San Antonio Spurs of the past decade, with speed, passing play, fluid movement and defense. Especially defense. From that luxurious monochrome outfit to this energetic green. System above polyfunctional hybrids and supernatural talent. Boston is a handbrake to worshipers of progress. To those who ask for changes in the rules, those who say that what once was can no longer be. What is basketball if not this? It can be won without shots from the logo and without acrobatic jumps. The basketball that used to be played on the ground is reborn with a team shaped with the patience of craftsmen and the heart of boxers.
of the brush of Jayson Tatum at the arrows of Jaylene Brown. Of the flexible defense of Al Horford to the overwhelming extent of Robert Williams III. The heart made motor of Marcus Smart and the sacrifice of Grant Williams. the intelligence of Derrick White and the lethal shots of Payton Pritchard.
Who is the best player on this team? It is impossible to know. Every night is the first night. Serial MVP hunters suffer with this Boston team. The best player is in the silent sum of the parts. If you are not well, I will be there to correspond with you. If you have pain, you can rest on my shoulders. The Celtics challenge the NBA of stars and rip off the labels of a league unaccustomed to this kind of silent projects.
The Warriors, a priori favorites in this tie, are no longer smiling like before. The warm basketball of the common good defies the vertigo of individual brilliance. This is much more than a luxury final: it is a duel of clear styles, a sports-cultural challenge, which puts the fans of this game in a debate that is worth every line of discussion.
On Friday, then, it will be the turn of the fourth game.
And the best, as always, is yet to come.
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The Celtics and basketball for the common good