Boston Celtics

Warriors' Steve Kerr makes strong statement on Celtics' title chances

"This is the best version we've seen of this team."

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BOSTON -- The Golden State Warriors have won four of the last nine NBA championships, their latest at the expense of the Celtics in 2022.

But head coach Steve Kerr wouldn't be surprised if Boston is raising its own championship banner in the very near future.

When asked Sunday if he thought this Celtics team has what it takes to win the franchise's first title since 2008, Kerr responded with glowing praise for the C's.

"Yeah, why not?" Kerr said at TD Garden before the Warriors' matchup with Boston. "I mean, they've been on the brink for six, seven years. Great organization, always been really well-coached, continuity -- they have everything that it takes.

"I think in this league, it always requires some luck to win a championship. Sometimes some things break your way, sometimes they don't, but the idea is to give yourselves a chance as many times as you can, and they've done a great job of that, and I think it's just a matter of time before they break through.

"This is, I think, the best version we've seen of this team."

The Celtics have reached at least the Eastern Conference Finals in five of the last seven seasons. After losing to the Warriors in the 2022 Finals, they made it to Game 7 of the 2023 East Finals before falling to the Miami Heat. President of basketball operations Brad Stevens responded last offseason by adding two All-Star caliber talents in Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, who have helped power Boston to an NBA-best 47-12 record entering Sunday.

Kerr cited Holiday and Porzingis as the two biggest differences between this Celtics team and the squad Golden State faced in the 2022 Finals.

"That's two really high-level players added to what was already a great team," Kerr said. "I think Jrue replaces a lot of what Marcus Smart gave Boston defensively and is an additional ball-handler and playmaker. I think Kristaps changes everything, just with his floor spacing and overall offensive game.

"So, they're lethal."

While the Celtics are the current title favorites, Kerr's Warriors enter Sunday as the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference at just five games over .500 (32-27). They've won 11 of their last 13 games, however, and have beaten the C's in two of their last three matchups since the 2022 Finals.

So, while Kerr may have a lofty view of Boston, expect his team to give the best team in the league a stiff test Sunday afternoon.

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