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#pounditWednesday, June 29, 2022

Ime Udoka reveals why he felt ‘basketball gods’ were on Celtics’ side

Mar 23, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka watches from the sideline as they take on the Utah Jazz in the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka took a bit of a victory lap over the fact that the team had vital home court advantage in their Game 7 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, with what he called an assist from the “basketball gods.”

The Celtics and Bucks were both competing for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference on the final day of the regular season, but went about it in different ways. The Celtics played their starters on the final day of the regular season and were rewarded with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Bucks opted to play their reserves and lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, which relegated them to the No. 3 seed. There was some speculation at the time that the Bucks had punted the final game to reduce the risk of having to face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round.

Udoka’s decision to go for the second seed paid off Sunday. Boston rode home court advantage to a 109-81 victory, and it was not lost on the Celtics coach how much his decision had mattered. He even credited the “basketball gods” for taking note of his team’s decision to compete to the end of the season.

Udoka might as well relish it. Had Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer taken a similar approach, Milwaukee could have been at home Sunday instead. Whether it’s the basketball gods or whatever energy Jaylen Brown subscribes to, maybe the Celtics just have fate on their side.

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