Ime Udoka speaks on Celtics’ future, Tatum’s finals struggles, and lessons from loss to the Warriors
Ime Udoka is optimistic for the future despite seeing his Boston Celtics beaten 4-2 in the 2022 NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors ater taking a 2-1 lead.
The former Nigeria men’s basketball player was on the verge of a unique history but instead set an unwanted record with his team becoming the first in Celtics history to lose three straight final games.
But the 44-year-old husband of Hollywood star Nia Long said the future is very bright for the Celtics as he answered various questions during his post-match conference.
“The future is bright and we’re just getting started.
“We learned a tremendous amount about each other. The message to the guys was ‘This is just the start. Let’s get healthy and hit the ground running next year.’ I told the group that there are levels. Golden State has been doing this for a long time. You can see that.”
Ime Udoka on Jayson Tatum: “This is only the start of how you’re going to be guarded and the attention you will draw.
“I think this is the next step for him. Figuring that out. He’s hurting, but he’s a great player. High IQ player. He’ll use this to propel him.”
Ime Udoka said the Celtics “didn’t give ourselves a chance” with all the turnovers in the losses in the Finals. He also said he told the Celtics players and coaches: “Don’t come back the same. Let this motivate you to come back better.”
Ime Udoka on his message to the Celtics after the loss: “It’s going to hurt. For a while. It never really goes away. Let it propel us forward into the future…. We thanked them for the effort and growth we were allowed coaching them this year.”
Celtics and Ime Udoka will be hoping they claim their 18th championship come next season.