Former D’Tigers of Nigeria Basketball forward, Ime Udoka has taken the Boston Celtics to the NBA finals for the first time in over a decade as they overcame Miami Heat 100-96 on Monday morning, May 30.
Boston failed in their last five play-off runs and almost did so again as Jimmy Butler missed a late three-point attempt which would have given Miami the lead.
Udoka used his game time shouts and tactical manoeuvres to help the Celtics secure victory and will now face Golden State Warriors in the finals with game one to hold in San Francisco on Thursday, June 2.
The Celtics led by 17 at one point in the second quarter but a fourth-quarter flurry helped Miami repeatedly reduce the advantage as Boston’s Marcus Smart who had 24 points and nine rebounds in total, made two free throws to seal the finals place.
Speaking after the win, Udoka said: ”This is a typical Celtics win.
“We fought through a lot of adversity this year. We’re a resilient group and tonight seemed to signify our season. We can’t ever seem to shut the door and have to grind it out.”
Udoka played for Nigeria in the 2005 and 2011 FIBA Africa Championships, winning a bronze medal in both tournaments.
At the 2006 FIBA World Championships, Udoka led Nigeria in scoring, assists, and steals.
Udoka also coached for Team USA under Popovich at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, along with Celtics assistant Will Hardy.