BOSTON — After swallowing the disappointment of squandering a trip to the NBA Finals two years ago, the Celtics are entering a familiar stage this go-around against the Mavericks with redemption in mind.

The 64-win Celtics, cruising with a 12-2 postseason record, will host Dallas to begin the Finals on Thursday night. Although, even with a clean slate and improved roster working to Boston’s advantage, those who experienced the anguish of watching TD Garden host a champagne/confetti-filled Warriors celebration in 2022, haven’t forgotten the heartbreak and disappointment.

“I’ve watched (the 2022 Finals) a few times now, maybe four or five times. As well as last year’s (Eastern) conference finals,” Jaylen Brown revealed during Wednesday’s NBA Finals media day at TD Garden. “I think you can always learn from anything really. But just being able to watch those moments and learn from them, how to manage your emotions, like, what you would have did differently potentially. I don’t think that’s bad to look at and acknowledge and be aware of.”

Boston held a 2-1 series lead over Golden State, closer than the team had been in raising Banner 18 in over a decade, but crumbled. The inexperience a jitters of performing on the highest stage against a dynasty sunk the Celtics and allowed the Warriors to put them away in six games.

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Since that series, it’s felt like a long road to returning.

The chance at a second consecutive trip was there for the taking last season as Boston drew a favorable opponent in the No. 8 seed Heat in the conference finals. But, once again, the lack of urgency, hunger, and non-existent killer instinct backfired on the then-nonchalant Celtics, prompting some much-needed roster reconstruction during the offseason.

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Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III, who both partook in the 2022 Finals run, packed their bags and departed Boston as the team’s sacrificial lambs.

“I give a lot of credit to that team, the Warriors,” Tatum said when looking back. “I think we understood what it took to get there. They understood what it took to get over the hump. That was really a special team that didn’t make many mistakes, obviously well-coached.”

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Tatum added: “I told myself that if I ever got the opportunity again to make it to the Finals, never take it for granted. Obviously, we’re here now. Thankful to be here. I’m excited to get ready to play and have fun tomorrow.”

At every opportunity leading up to the Finals, the Celtics have played the part of a team on the hunt for vengeance. They held on tight to their No. 1 seed after ripping it from the Sixers on Nov. 14 and didn’t cough it up until the end of the regular season. Boston didn’t lose more than twice consecutively, and that trend has extended to the postseason. Plus, the team did its job by surpassing everyone in the East while giving a then-injured Kristaps Porzingis time to recover from a strained calf injury.

Ultimately, the pain can only be alleviated by four wins over the Mavericks.

Featured image via Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Images