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It's time for the Celtics to bring home a championship

Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca react to team returning to NBA Finals
Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca react to team returning to NBA Finals 02:23

BOSTON -- This is it. It's time for Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics to bring home a championship.

The Celtics are right where they should be at the moment, gearing up for the NBA Finals after sweeping the Indiana Pacers out of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics are now 12-2 in the playoffs (and 6-0 on the road) after their incredible 64-win regular season.

But those 76 wins won't mean much if the Celtics don't add four more to their tally. After dominating the regular season and finishing with an absurd 11.6 net rating (tied for the third-best of all time), followed by a mostly dominant run through the East bracket in the postseason, all that's left for this group is to bring home a Larry O'Brien trophy. 

This is the second time that Tatum, Brown, Derrick White, and Al Horford have made it to the final level in this silly game. But the Celtics weren't ready for the big stage in 2022, when they blew a chance to go up 3-1 on the Golden State Warriors and lost in six games.

This year is different. This year, the Celtics not only look ready, but they look determined to win their final game of the season. There will be no playing with their food in the NBA Finals, not when they're this close to bringing home a title again.

After the Celtics lost to the 8-seeded Miami Heat in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, Brad Stevens decided that the team's DNA needed a shakeup. He traded Marcus Smart for 7-foot-1 unicorn Kristaps Porzingis, who should be back in action when the NBA Finals tips off on June 6. But the biggest move of the summer was when the Celtics traded for Jrue Holiday, who was cast away by the Bucks in order to get Damian Lillard. Holiday is everything Smart is but without the on-court antics and bad shot selection. 

While his shot as been inefficient this postseason, Tatum has been able to shift into beast mode when the team has needed it. He hasn't had to do it every night because Brown has become a bona fide postseason hero on both ends of the floor. Jrue is doing Jrue things throughout games, and White has been a "stonks" machine, averaging a pair of blocks and 2.3 steals per game over the Pacers. And they're all trying to win it for Horford, who will turn 38 a few days before the NBA Finals tip off.

After being criticized for not being able to win close games, the Celtics won three such tilts in the Eastern Conference Finals. While they did it against a Pacers team without their star point guard, the Celtics displayed their crunch-time mettle and responded every time Indiana put them in a tough spot. They did it with a clutch shot, a huge play on defense, or in the case of Game 4, both, courtesy of series MVP Jaylen Brown.

This Celtics team is built to win it all. Now they just have to go out and do it and end a 16-year title drought for Boston.

Obviously Boston's work is far from done. Their previous three opponents all dealt with injuries as the Celtics made quick work of them, and now they'll likely be facing a Dallas Mavericks team that is coming off a sweep of their own in the Western Conference Finals. (The Mavs are up 3-0 on the Timberwolves heading into Tuesday night's Game 4 in Dallas.) A matchup against Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will pose a much different challenge than anything the Celtics have faced this postseason.

But these Celtics have risen to every challenge, every bit of adversity so far this season, and have a chance to add their names to the history book of the most storied franchise in the NBA. Tatum and Brown will become immortals in Boston sports lore if they raise a banner, White would never have to buy a beverage in the city again, and Horford could potentially ride off into the sunset a champion.

The Celtics have been close in the past, but this is their best chance yet. They cannot squander this opportunity. 

Win a title this year, and it may just open the floodgates for this incredible core to keep adding to Boston's banner collection. 

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