The green miracle
The Boston Celtics return to the NBA Finals twelve years later, after losing the Eastern Finals in three of the previous five seasons.
It is their fifth win in a Game 7 away from home. Only they have a winning record in final away matches.
Home court advantage in the seventh sees a win 77% of the time. But something is changing: it's 6-9 in the last fifteen.
The Celtics concluded a miraculous resurrection: on 21 January they were 23-24, with a negative score, and out of the playoffs spots.
The last team to reach the Finals with so much to do was the Houston Rockets, in 1981. They were 22-28 after 50 games.
Between 22 January and April 11, the Celtics (28-7) had the NBA's best offense and best defense.
Now it's exhaustion to be dealt with. Only the 1988 Lakers won the Finals after playing seven games in the previous two rounds.
The Celtics are 7-2 away from home home in the playoffs and now play the Warriors who haven't yet lost on their home court: 9-0.
The Warriors have home-court advantage, but the Celtics are the only one with a winning record against them since their dynasty began in 2015.
In a repeat of the 1964 Finals (Celtics winning 4-1), it's a contest between two of the only three remaining original franchises.
The Celtics and Warriors are also two of the three teams with the most rings (17 & 6) and most Finals appearances (22 & 12).
The Warriors, when still in Philadelphia, won the first NBA (then BAA) ring in 1947. That was 75 years ago.
Then came the great Celtics dynasty: nine rings in a row and 11 in 13 years between 1957 & 1969, the like we've never seen again.
They say defenses win championships, and the 2022 Finals pit this season's best two by numbers against each other.
and the mega big three of the Golden State Warriors