FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Boston Celtics face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, and one of their biggest fans – New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick – couldn’t be happier.
A week after wearing a Celtics hat to his team’s first spring practice session and making sure his assistants did the same, Belichick opened his speech to reporters on Tuesday by welcoming the newly crowned Eastern Conference champions.
“Another great series for the Celtics. Congratulations to the team, the staff and the organization. Great performance,” he said. “Look forward to seeing the game.”
Game 1 takes place Thursday night at the Golden State (9 p.m. ET, ABC).
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 23, 2022
When asked what he’s observed with the Celtics this season, Belichick said, “They played great the last two-thirds of the season and in the playoffs. Really constant. They have a lot of good players. They played really good defence.
“They’re tough, they push, they play smart basketball. It’s a pleasure to see her. It’s fun to see them.”
Patriots safety Adrian Phillips, who was hoping for a Celtics-Mavericks matchup in the NBA Finals due to his Texas ties, was among the Patriots players who put their support behind Boston on Tuesday.
Several Patriots have competed in the Celtics’ playoff games this year, including quarterback Mac Jones, receiver Kendrick Bourne, running back Damien Harris and tight end Jonnu Smith. Patriots owner Robert Kraft is also a regular at TD Garden.
Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals are scheduled to be played in Boston on June 8th and 10th. The Patriots will hold their mandatory mini-camp June 7-9.
Belichick said exposure to other professional sports teams in Boston was an enjoyable part of his experience as a Patriots coach, going back to his first season (2000) with then-Celtics coach Rick Pitino.
“Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics, from my point of view it’s been a great relationship with our players and their players and the teams and coaches,” he said.
“Some of the guys are moving on [but] It’s good to keep in touch with them even if they are in different organizations. I will still draw for the home team. [But] the relationships there, they go beyond the initial introduction.”