BRIAN Scalabrine, the NBA's "White Mamba," believes that it will be the Golden State Warriors versus the Boston Celtics in the Finals this coming 2018-19 season.
A member of the 2008 NBA champion Celtics team and assistant coach of the 2013-14 Golden State Warriors, Scalabrine predicted that his two former teams will meet in this year’s finals.
Scalabrine insisted that even if LeBron James didn’t go to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Celtics will still rule the East with their stacked lineup bannered by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, and rejoined by last year’s injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
“Even if LeBron was in Cleveland, the Celtics will still be the favorite to go to the finals,” said Scalabrine, who is now an NBA Analyst for the Celtics at Comcast SportsNet New England and co-host of SiriusXM NBA Radio’s “The Starting Lineup”
Believing that the Warriors will breeze into the Finals for the fifth year in a row with Demarcus Cousins joining Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Scalabrine, the 6-foot-9 forward who had a fruitful 11-year career in the NBA, said the Celtics will have a hard time in beating the ‘threepeat’-seeking champions.
“But at the end of the day, the Warriors are one of the greatest teams ever assembled. It’s gonna be hard to beat them,” he said. “The Celtics have had pretty good success against the Warriors for over the last let’s say three years but at the end of the day, it’s not gonna be easy with Kevin Durant playing at that level. I don’t know if you saw Game 3, where Steph and Klay couldn’t make a shot and Durant had 40. So how do you beat that team?”
Scalabrine is putting premium on defense for Boston to stand a chance against the deadly shooting of Golden State.
“They have a lot more defenders, a lot of multiple bodies that they can throw at Curry and Thompson, they have much more length that they can guard a guy like Kevin Durant,” he said. “How you beat the Warriors? You gotta be relentless on defense, can’t give up any easy back cuts or any easy lay-ups. If they make tough shots, they make tough shots.”
Scalabrine has no doubt that the Celtics will finally end a nine-year Finals drought this season, but he will be betting on the Warriors to win in Game 6 if his dream Finals will come true.
“So I do think that the Celtics will go to the Finals but probably at this point I think they’ll lose in 6,” he concluded.
Scalabrine is remembered for fans poking fun at his playing time through memes or internet jokes calling him the “real G.O.A.T and White Mamba”, “averaging 35 high fives a game”, and etc.
“My ascension coincide with the ascension of memes. If it wasn’t for memes then there will be no White Mamba,” said Scalabrine sharing the laughter with reporters. “I embraced all that.”
Despite all the jokes and memes that surrounded him, the 35th overall pick of the New Jersey Nets in the 2001 draft said that he is just grateful playing with the best players and all his achievements he has done as a team player.
“The reality is I am very very fortunate to be on teams with such a great players. If I wasn’t drafted on those teams, if I hadn’t played with Jason Kidd, I wouldn’t have stretched out my career 11 years,” he said.
“But with that being said, I did stretch out to 11 years. The reality is reality so whether I am good or not I’m good, whether I’m better than this guy or not. 11 years is 11 years. An NBA championship, four finals, those things are all willed. I’m very fortunate.”
Scalabrine, who last played in the NBA as a Chicago Bull, shared his secret to prolong careers as an NBA bench player and journeyman.
“My biggest saying is and that is for everybody in the NBA, find out where you’re good at, embrace that, be good at that but don’t ever shut down the other parts,” he said. “Continue to try to improve ten percent of other parts of your game.”
Scalabrine, who averaged 3.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 520 games — starting only 61 times, added that he stayed in the NBA for so long because he could catch the ball, shoot it, put the ball on the floor, and make a play to another guy.
“Embrace that, be good at that, but keep trying to improve a little bit of your game for a guy like me,” he said. “Continue to work and study the game. Don’t just go into the game blind, if I’m gonna go against a player better than me how can I study and get an advantage against him.”
Scalabrine stressed that those aspects are right mix to prolong an NBA career.
“You add all that up, it does add to having some success,” he concluded. “But at the end of the day, my coach is counting on me because they know I’m not gonna make a mistake when I’m up there, we call that having ‘game plan discipline.’“