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    Monday, June 24, 2024

    African Blogtable: Thoughts and takeaways from the National Basketball Association Finals

    The 2024 NBA Finals lived up to its expectation with the Celtics storming to their historic record of 18 championships.

    The African Blogtable brings together some of the top basketball minds from across the continent to answer some of the league’s most pressing questions ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season.

    The 2023/24 NBA season concluded on Tuesday, June 18 with the Boston Celtics crowned as the NBA Champions for a 18th time.  The last time the Celtics lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy was in 2008 under current Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers.  The team led by Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum beat the Dallas Mavericks 106 – 88 at TD Garden to surpass the Los Angeles Lakers with the most NBA Championships (17).

    Jaylen Brown was named the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) off the back of being named the Eastern Conference Finals MVP in May.
    The 2024 NBA Champions have made two NBA Finals appearance since their 2008 championship run in 2010 losing to the LA Lakers (4-3) and in 2022 losing to the Golden State Warriors (4-2). 

    • What are your thoughts and takeaways on this year’s NBA Finals? 

    Alex Isaboke, Capital FM (Kenya): The 2024 NBA Finals lived up to its expectation with the Celtics storming to their historic record of 18 championships! What stood out in the finals, for me, is the fruits that bore from the trades made by both teams.  Looking at how these two teams were built through a combination of players picked up free agency and key strategic trades. In Dallas with Luka Doncic in the center, they surrounded him with players such as Kyrie Irving who they acquired through free agency while in the case of the Celtics, when you look at their core players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the front officed trade for a Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis who have gelled well with the two Jays to compliment and bring the team together.  All these trades made by both teams have propelled both sides to display for an entertaining finals this season.
    Damas Sikubwabo (https://apo-opa.co/4czdKud), The New Times Rwanda (Rwanda): It is a no-brainer that this year’s NBA Playoffs and Finals and had a smoother run particularly when you look at the major teams that didn't have their complete rosters.  I loved seeing that despite the void of key players on teams like the Bucks, Miami, Pacers (in the final two games), and Sixers, teams still competed hard to try make it to the finals, despite falling short.

    The two conference champions, Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics left everything on the floor during the finals despite the Celtics taking away the season’s crown.  The Celtics duo, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum outplayed the Dallas stronghold in Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic.  Still, the Celtics proved a hard opponent for the Dallas Mavericks, particularly in the first three games of the finals.  Equally important is the TD Garden fan base, arguably among the league’s most vibrant.  Should the Celtics maintain the same pace next season, back-to-back titles will be possible, in my view. 

    I’m happy for head coach Joe Mazzulla I hope the team can maintain this pace, the teamwork, and the chemistry, if they do – next season will be a walk in the park.

    Mor Bassine, Record (Senegal): The NBA season was rich with this final between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks.  Boston was the best franchise of the season.  The Celtics had a strong group in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. In Dallas, there was no respondent.  Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić were the only ones to do it all. The Boston Celtics victory is deserved and rewards the consistency of the team.

    Sindiswa Mabunda, The Big Tip Off (South Africa):
     The NBA Finals highlighted how strong the Celtics are.  Despite the doubts that arose about their "easy route" to the finals with many of their opponents’ battling injuries in the playoffs, the finals showed just how good they are.

    Apart from Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, their performance demonstrated how valuable their acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis were.  It also showed how many difference makers they had in their rotation, which allowed them to remain dominant throughout the series on defense and offense, even when Tatum had a bad game or when they lost Porzingis due to injury.

    Their victory highlighted how important building a team and not just relying on one player can be.  With many teams making hasty decisions in the off-season with hopes of winning a title, the Celtics, who last made a finals appearance in 2022, played the long game and have solidified their legacy as NBA Royalty with 18 Championships to their name.

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