‘Satch’ Sanders shares his thoughts on Celtics’ run to NBA Finals

Tom “Satch” Sanders knows a thing or two about what it takes to win an NBA championship. When it comes to the Celtics’ current run to the NBA Finals, Sanders has been particularly impressed with the team’s collective sense of calm.”Not really excited, scared, nervous or anything. Any of those terms, they just don’t apply, “Sanders said. “This team seems to like to play basketball, like to play together, and that’s a hard bit of chemistry to pull together.”The Celtics have shown plenty of mettle on the road this postseason, going 7-2 away from TD Garden before the NBA Finals. Boston then bettered that record with their Game 1 victory over the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. But when it comes to playing at home, the Celtics are just 5-4 at TD Garden entering the NBA Finals. Sanders, however, does not think that home record has to do with the team playing a bit tight in Boston.”The fact that they’re not doing well at home has nothing to do with the pressures at home. Let’s call it that, “he said. “When you’re on the road at a resting time, you have nothing else to do but think about why you’re there. Nowadays, the way the guys travel: a flight in and it’s for that purpose alone and then jump on a flight and back home … so there is nothing to take them away from the focus of the game. At home, it could be anything. It could be pressure. It could be parental conversations. It can be wife, kids. It can be a lot of friends saying: ‘What are you guys going to do tonight? It can be all kinds of outside stress and pressure.”Sanders said that during his playing days, he enjoyed the idea of ​​going into a hostile environment and silencing the crowd.”It’s always fun,” he said. “It’s always fun to play and to say: ‘Did you guys boo me? Did you call me some names? Here, take this!'”After his playing days with the Celtics, Sanders coached the Harvard University basketball team for four seasons ( 1973-77), becoming the first Black person to serve as a head coach of any sport in the Ivy League. He then joined the C’s as an assistant coach in 1977 before taking over as head coach for a bit in 1978. Sanders then founded a number of NBA player programs, including the league’s Rookie Transition Program in 1968. The NBA’s Rookie Transition Program was the first such program in any major American sport.

Tom “Satch” Sanders knows a thing or two about what it takes to win an NBA championship.

The Basketball Hall of Famer won eight titles in 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics (1960-73), often while guarding the opponent’s top offensive threat.

When it comes to the Celtics’ current run to the NBA Finals, Sanders has been particularly impressed with the team’s collective sense of calm.

“Not really excited, scared, nervous or anything. Any of those terms, they just don’t apply,” Sanders said. “This team seems to like to play basketball, like to play together, and that’s a hard bit of chemistry to pull together.”

The Celtics have shown plenty of mettle on the road this postseason, going 7-2 away from TD Garden before the NBA Finals. Boston then bettered that record with their Game 1 victory over the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco.

But when it comes to playing at home, the Celtics are just 5-4 at TD Garden entering the NBA Finals. Sanders, however, does not think that home record has to do with the team playing a bit tight in Boston.

“The fact that they’re not doing well at home has nothing to do with the pressures at home. Let’s call it that,” he said. “When you’re on the road at a resting time, you have nothing else to do but think about why you’re there. Nowadays, the way the guys travel: a flight in and it’s for that purpose alone and then jump on a flight and back home … so there is nothing to take them away from the focus of the game. At home, it could be anything. It could be pressure. It could be parental conversations. It can be wife, kids. It can be a lot of friends saying: ‘What are you guys going to do tonight? It can be all kinds of outside stress and pressure.”

Sanders said that during his playing days, he enjoyed the idea of ​​going into a hostile environment and silencing the crowd.

“It’s always fun,” he said. “It’s always fun to play and to say: ‘Did you guys boo me? Did you call me some names? Here, take this!'”

After his playing days with the Celtics, Sanders coached the Harvard University basketball team for four seasons (1973-77), becoming the first Black person to serve as a head coach of any sport in the Ivy League. He then joined the C’s as an assistant coach in 1977 before taking over as head coach for a bit in 1978.

Sanders then founded a number of NBA player programs, including the league’s Rookie Transition Program in 1968. The NBA’s Rookie Transition Program was the first such program in any major American sport.

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