Daniel Theis proudly posed with the silver and gold trophy for the champion of the Eastern Conference. Even though the German national basketball player did not play in his Boston Celtics’ decisive semi-final win over the Miami Heat, he was able to celebrate his first NBA finals appearance. “What a team,” wrote the 30-year-old on Twitter for the photo.

At the end of a nerve-wracking series, the Celtics were in the lead the entire time in the decisive seventh game on Sunday evening (local time) and in the end won a deserved 100-96 (55-49). For the first time since 2010, Boston is back in the final. There it is against the Golden State Warriors about superstar Stephen Curry and his congenial partner Klay Thompson, who returned this season after a year-long injury break.

Theis, who was born in Salzgitter, will be only the third German in the final series of the world’s strongest basketball league after Detlef Schrempf (1996 with the Seattle Supersonics) and Dirk Nowitzki (2006 and 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks).

“The boys are allowed to celebrate briefly, but they also have to look ahead quickly. It would all be for naught if we fail in the finals,” said coach Ime Udoka, who reached the NBA finals in his first season as head coach. He was able to rely offensively on his star player Jayson Tatum. The 24-year-old had 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in game seven and was named Most Valuable Player of the Eastern Conference Finals series. “It was the biggest game of the season and of my career so far,” said Tatum, who had failed several times in the playoffs with the Celtics in recent years.

The Celtics also wobbled again and again in the series against Miami, shortly before the end the Heat came within two points thanks to an 11-0 run. But Jimmy Butler, who was on the floor for the entire 48 minutes and was the best thrower with 35 points, missed his team’s lead for the first time.

The Celtics are fighting for the championship and have the chance to become the sole record holder again. They are currently tied with the Los Angeles Lakers with 17 trophies won. However, final opponents Golden State is the more experienced team. For the sixth time in the past eight years, head coach Steve Kerr’s team has qualified for the finals. The Chicago Bulls around icon Michael Jordan last recorded such a run in the NBA between 1991 and 1998.