Ime Udoka compares losing heartbreaker to Heat in 2013 NBA Finals versus Celtics getting throttled by Warriors

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In his first season as a head coach, Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka led his team all the way to the 2022 NBA Finals.

As basketball fans know, he and his players fell just short of the championship and ended up losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games. Though the 2021-22 season was his first as a head coach in the league, it was not Udoka’s first experience coaching in the NBA Finals.

As a former assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, Udoka battled against none other than the Miami Heat in both the 2013 NBA Finals and the 2014 NBA Finals.

The 2013 series featured what is perhaps the most iconic play in Heat history, when guard Ray Allen hit a corner 3-pointer in Game 6 of the series to tie the game with just seconds remaining. The Heat would go on to win the game and then win the series in the subsequent Game 7.

However, the Spurs would bounce back in the following season and defeat the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals.

As the dust settled from Udoka’s loss in the 2022 NBA Finals, he compared that 2013 loss to his most recent defeat.

“Obviously, losing on a buzzer-beater against Ray Allen when I was in San Antonio will kind of fuel you throughout a whole season,” Udoka said. “But this was a little bit different. We improved in a lot of areas, but fell short of our ultimate goal. Some guys didn’t play their best. That’s going to motivate guys throughout the season.

“Like I said, the message is everybody come back better. Let’s not be satisfied. It’s not guaranteed you’re going to be here. The East is getting tougher every year. They’ll come back better. We will as a staff, as well.”

Clearly, Udoka is already looking towards the future. Thanks to his young and talented Celtics roster, he is in a great position to get his team back to another finals appearance in the near future.

As for the Heat, who lost to the Celtics in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, they’ll surely look to make the moves this offseason to help them make sure that they are the team representing the East by the time the 2023 NBA Finals gets started next year.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.