The Pep Guardiola Effect: Celtics Dominate NBA Finals with Surprise Appearance

The Pep Guardiola Effect: Celtics Dominate NBA Finals with Surprise Appearance

Pep Guardiola makes a surprise appearance at the first NBA finals. His presence inspires one team in particular – much to the chagrin of Dirk Nowitzki.

Alexander Kohne reports from Boston

You don’t often see Pep Guardiola like this: At the start of the finals of the North American basketball league NBA between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks, the star coach of Manchester City presented himself with a backwards baseball cap, white sneakers, casual trousers – and a casual hoodie with a “Boston” print.

And that helped: The favored Celtics temporarily led Dirk Nowitzki’s long-time team from Texas on Thursday evening (local time) and won clearly 107:89 in the atmospheric TD Garden in Boston.

Guardiola must have been pleased. He has a special relationship with Joe Mazzulla, the coach of the Celtics. The latter is a declared admirer of the Catalan and described Guardiola as “the best coach at every level, in every sport” in February.

One day before the match, the two tactics-obsessed coaches were still engrossed in an intensive and gesture-filled technical discussion.

And Mazzulla seems to have drawn some inspiration from this. The favored Celtics, who have the best record in the NBA regular season, left no doubt from the start that the only thing that counts for them this year is the title. After just under half a minute, veteran Al Horford underlined this with an uncompromising dunk, the first points of the game.

But Dallas, including Dirk Nowitzki’s legitimate successor Luka Dončić, who surprisingly led his team into the final series with splendid performances, held out and pulled ahead to 9:5 after just under six minutes.

As a result, the lead changed several times – until after just eight minutes, the atmosphere of celebration began to break out in the hall in the state of Massachusetts in the northeast of the USA. The reason: the return of Kristaps Porziņģis, who had previously been injured for five weeks and whose health was a big question mark before the final series.

And the Latvian eliminated this within a few minutes. By the end of the first quarter, he had collected eleven points alone and the Celtics had pulled ahead to 37:20. They even showed off the Texans, who were overwhelmed at this stage, with some passing sequences that seemed surreal.

Maxi Kleber couldn’t change that either. Like Nowitzki, the Mavs forward comes from Würzburg and is held in high esteem in the Texas metropolis for more than just that reason. As a specialist in long-range shooting and defensive work, he embodies a completely different type of player.

Maxi Kleber (No. 42): The German only scored two points in the first game of the NBA Finals. (Source: Charles Krupa)

Although Kleber came into the game from the bench and gave it his all, he only managed to score his first basket shortly before halftime. After leading by 29 points at one point, the finely tuned Celtics team around stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Derrick White went into the break with a score of 63:42. While everything seemed to be going well for the home team, the Mavs struggled.

In the second half, Dallas came into the game better and reduced the deficit point by point. Dončić, who had been playing somewhat unluckily up until then – somewhere between brilliant passes and careless turnovers – showed a different face and took on more responsibility. With a three-pointer, the highly talented Slovenian even reduced the deficit to 64:72 four and a half minutes before the end of the third quarter.

At that point, however, the Celtics pulled the reins and within three minutes were ahead 86:64 – with thunderous dunks, clever long-range shots and, above all, a tough defense. They went into the final quarter with 86:66.

2024-06-07 16:46:16
#Nowitzkis #club #lesson #Pep #cheers #opponents


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