NBA playoffs 2022 — The Boston Celtics knock on the door to the Finals. This is a moment they do not take lightly.

BOSTON — They are on the brink of the 2022 NBA Finals. Boston Celtics You might find inspiration in a series from a decade ago.

The Oklahoma City Thunder We were close to the top in the basketball world in 2012 and reached the Finals with a team that included three future MVPs. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook James Harden All of them were in their first five years of the league.

The Thunder lost to Miami Heat In five Finals games, it was assumed that this would be OKC's first appearance in the NBA championship round. They looked like a dynasty.

This dynasty did not exist.

Harden was sold by the Houston Rockets The Thunder were unable to reach the Finals for the second consecutive season, due to bad luck, injuries, and other factors.

The lesson? The lesson?

The Thunder team is an example of how fleeting a moment can be for the Celtics. They face the Heat in Game 6 to determine the Eastern Conference finals.8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) with a chance to close out the series and return to the Finals for the first time in 12 years.

Boston's “This is an amazing opportunity.” Jaylen Brown Following the Game 5 victory, said. “Leave all your possessions on the ground. “You don't want to feel regret.”

Since 2010, the Celtics have reached the East finals six more times. However, this is arguably their closest appearance since 2010 when they were in the exact same spot a decade ago. They are now heading home to TD Garden having won Game 5 against the Heat to get a 3-2 series lead.

The difference was that the Celtics were an older team, led by Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, and with one title and another Finals win under their belts — and they were going up against LeBron James At his peak. James played the best game of his life to win Miami a win in Game 7. He beat the Thunder in five games to earn his first championship.

Six years later, the Celtics found themselves in a similar situation, and James — in his second stint as a member of the team — was able to help them. Cleveland Cavaliers — 3-2 in series. James finished the series with 46 points, 11 boards and 9 assists. Jayson Tatum Threw down a memorable dunk over James The fourth quarter of Game 7 Boston saw James and Cleveland win.

Tatum smiled when Tatum was asked if it's different being in this place now than four years ago. “I'm a lot better, [Brown] is. We're just older. And we've lived through those hard times.”

In 2020, the Celtics fought the Heat in the bubble. They lost six games.

The clear favorite for this year's championship is the Celtics. Boston has seen its share of injuries. Robert Williams IIIRecurrent knee problems are common in this patient. Marcus SmartRight leg injuries Al Horford Due to NBA COVID-19 safety and health protocols, Game 1 was canceled. Miami has been decimated by them.

The Heat's best perimeter players Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry Tyler Herro — either have no ability to participate or are playing with obvious limitations. Even if they were all healthy the Celtics' league-leading defense This is to place a Heat half-court offense already suspect into a sleeper lock.

Erik Spoelstra, Heat coach said that if you want to make it to the Finals and break through, you will have to do some extremely difficult stuff. “Getting to Boston and finding that out together, those emotions and breakthroughs are what you'll remember for the rest your life.”

All of this was impossible four months ago. Boston floundered around.500 and seemed to be on its way towards another mediocre season. The combination of timely transactions and improved health, combined with coach Ime Udoka’s philosophies translating to success on the court, transformed Boston into a juggernaut, the NBA's top team for the last two-and-a half months.

After years of trying to break through, the Celtics now have their best chance.

Udoka declared that “Nothing changes” about the team's attitude heading into Game 6. “We had to be positive after a win. We did that. We want to do it again [in Game 6]You can close it at home.

Tatum is in his fifth NBA season. This will be Tatum's third East finals. This is the fourth season for Brown, the sixth for Smart, and the eighth for Smart. It's both a reminder how much playoff experience Boston has and how difficult it is to get to the final step.

The Celtics are hoping that their experiences will help them prepare for Friday's most important game of their lives, when they have a chance at winning their way back to the Finals.

The Celtics, like the Thunder team, look like a team that could be poised for a long run of excellence. The top eight Boston rotation players are between 23 and 28 years old (Horford, 35 is the exception). Five are under 25.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tatum and Brown, who are both 25-and-under, will be the fourth tandem to reach Boston's Finals. They will also become the team's leading scorer in the last 40 years.

Which of the three are you? Hakeem Olajuwon Ralph Sampson and the Houston Rockets in 1986. Shaquille Ol'Neal with the Houston Rockets and Anfernee Hartaway with the Orlando Magic In 1995, Durant and Westbrook in 2012

None of these tandems were able to return a second round.

Brown stated, “We had an opportunity to do some things with this group that's very special.” “So let's take this opportunity not for granted. Let's play the best basketball this season on Friday night at our home court.

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