Celtics Eye Banner 18: Path to NBA Finals Clears for Boston Due to

The Celtics were never able to figure out the puzzle of defending Nikola Jokic this season. But after the Nuggets’ shocking Game 7 defeat to the Wolves on Sunday night in the Western Conference Semifinals, Boston no longer needs to worry about that during this postseason run.

The Wolves finished the game on a 60-32 run to win 98-90, but the defending champions led by as much as 20 points in the third quarter.

Jamal Murray (35 points) and Nikola Jokic (34 points, 19 rebounds) tried their hardest to keep Denver in the game, but their supporting cast was completely ineffective.

For their part, the Wolves advanced to the West Finals for the first time in twenty years thanks to a strong defensive effort and a balanced scoring effort (six players scored in double figures).

The surprising defeat prepares the Celtics for their ideal future as they advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Suddenly, the prospects of the Celtics winning their first championship in sixteen years have soared, and Boston’s most formidable opponent will be watching from the sidelines.

After the Pacers defeated the undermanned Knicks on Sunday afternoon, Boston will take on one of the worst East Finals teams in recent memory to begin the series.

Although Indiana played brilliantly in Madison Square Garden, their roster is young and lacks true defensive grit.

If the Celtics play excellent defense, they have enough weapons, even without Kristaps Porzingis, to win the series quickly against Indiana.

Following that? The Wolves and Mavericks are two talented but inexperienced teams playing in the Western Conference. In theory, Minnesota is the superior team, but Dallas has more star power thanks to Luka Doncic.

In either case, in a potential Finals showdown, the Celtics have the tools to slow down either team. The Celtics would undoubtedly be the favorite in the game, even if either opponent would represent Boston’s most difficult matchup to date in their postseason journey.

Nothing for this Celtics team is guaranteed, even in the best of circumstances. Last year, Boston believed they would be easily make it to the NBA Finals, but the eighth-seeded Heat had other ideas.

In their losses to the Heat and Warriors in the 2020 and 2022 postseasons, respectively, Boston was likewise the favorite.

However, especially when it comes to Boston’s upcoming round encounter, the talent disparity in those series is not comparable to 2024.

For this team, there might not have been a simpler route to the NBA championship, and it is now up to this core to seize the opportunity.

The Boston Celtics no longer have to worry about Nikola Jokic after the Nuggets’ stunning Game 7 loss to the Wolves in the Western Conference Semifinals. Despite valiant efforts from Jamal Murray and Jokic, Denver couldn’t hold off a 60-32 run by Minnesota, losing 98-90. The Wolves’ victory, marked by balanced scoring and tough defense, propels them to their first West Finals in 20 years.

This outcome brightens Boston’s championship prospects as they head into the Eastern Conference Finals against a young and defensively weak Pacers team. With the Celtics’ depth and defensive prowess, even without Kristaps Porzingis, a swift series win seems likely. Looking ahead, potential Finals matchups against either the Wolves or Mavericks appear favorable, with Boston positioned as the favorite.

However, the Celtics must remain cautious, recalling past playoff upsets. Yet, with a seemingly easier route to the title, the opportunity is ripe for this core to clinch their first championship in sixteen years.


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