The NBA Finals begin tonight, and the teams will be familiar even if some of the faces aren't. The Golden State Warriors played in every finals from 2015 to 2019 and are back after a couple of years away.
The Boston Celtics haven't gotten this far for a dozen years, but are making their 22nd trip to the finals as a franchise.
It's a matchup between a blistering offense and a juggernaut defense — a Cuisinart vs. a woodchipper, as True Hoop's David Thorpe puts it — both of which have gotten stronger since the playoffs began.
Neither team were favored to get here — the Celtics, WGBH notes, with an ugly 20-21 record halfway through the season, and the Warriors were only the No. 3 seed in the West.
But the Warriors were steady as they fought past Ja Morant's Memphis Grizzlies and Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks.
The Celtics, meanwhile, swept away the loaded Brooklyn Nets in the first round, and demonstrated remarkable resilience against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat, NPR's Tom Goldman told Morning Edition.
"They've won three elimination games, won seven games on the road — including last Sunday in Miami to clinch a spot in the finals," Goldman said.
"Home court advantage [is] such a big deal in the NBA playoffs, and to overcome that seven times? That's impressive."