Ireland’s Home from Home Enjoying Major Basketball Success – – Our News, Your Views

Ireland’s Home from Home Enjoying Major Basketball Success

Although the numbers lack consistency year on year, it is widely accepted that more than 20% of the population of the American city of Boston has Irish heritage.

It is, therefore, a popular destination for those seeking a ‘home from home’ in a city where the average summer temperature can reach a sultry 28˚C.

Boston is known for its culinary delights – the city is considered to be the originator of the humble baked bean, as well as being famous for its clam chowder and the location of the first chocolate factory in the United States.

It’s becoming increasingly known as a sporting city too, with the Boston Red Sox a nine-time World Series champion and the Celtics into the final of the NBA championships.

Although a 17-time winner of the NBA finals, Boston have only lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy once since 1986 – and that came more than a decade ago in 2008. As such, they were priced at 40/1 in the pre-season NBA betting odds, and considered nothing more than a potential outsider for glory.

But under the leadership of an enterprising young coach in Ime Udoka, the Celtics – whose mascot is Larry the Leprechaun, if you needed any more convincing about their Celtic inspiration – won the Atlantic Division ahead of the fancied Philadelphia 76ers and trounced pre-season favourites Brooklyn Nets 4-0 in their play-off contest.

Victories over Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat followed to sweep the Celtics into their first NBA Finals in 14 years, and while they remain the outsider against a Golden State Warriors franchise that has won the championship three times in the past seven seasons.

But the Irish have long been drawn as the underdogs, and so you suspect that billing will suit Udoka’s players and the local community down to a tee.

Marcus Plays It Smart

Not blessed with as many elite names as their rivals, the Celtics have had to build their success around organisation, unity and strategy.

Udoka has been the figurehead of that, and he has been able to get the very best from Marcus Smart – he was crowned the Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA Awards following the regular season, thanks largely to his incredible basketball IQ and reading of the game… Smart by name, Smart by nature.

The Celtics sat just twelfth in the offensive points-per-game rankings – confirmation of their defensive prowess, and Jayson Tatum was responsible for netting more than 20% of those… a mark of his incredible worth to this team. He was rewarded with a place in the All-NBA First Team, and at the age of 24 he is already a three-time All-Star. The sky is the limit for the 6ft 8in scoring sensation.

Others, including Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams III and Al Horford, have played their part, but this is a Boston Celtics team that performs to a level greater than the sum of its parts.
If Irish sports fans are seeking a team to support outside of their usual loves, the Boston Celtics tick plenty of boxes.

Share this story

Tell us what you think on our Facebook page