By: Steven Tauro
September 28, 2020
The season has sadly concluded for our Boston Celtics, losing in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat. There are a lot of different thoughts, feelings, and emotions after losing this series, when realistically if the first two games finished differently, the results could possibly be different.
Let’s take a look at coaching before we discuss the players accountability. In my opinion, Erik Spoelstra was the better coach of the series, no doubt about it. The Heat were extremely disciplined throughout the series offensively and defensively, while continuously adjusting and making changes on the fly. A lot of the downfall for the Celtics came in the second half of games, especially earlier in the series, when blowing multiple double digit leads in the fourth quarter. Referring to another team that was in the bubble and is now eliminated, the Los Angeles Clippers, were in that similar scenario multiple times.
Since the Clippers were eliminated many people were calling for Doc Rivers’ job, blaming a lot of the losses on him, especially for mishandling double digit leads late in the game. I get it. I believe that the Clippers and the Celtics expectations were different coming into the bubble. Clearly, both teams were contending to win the NBA Finals, but are at different places as far as franchises go. The pressure to win and win now, definitely impacts a team like Los Angeles more than it does for the Celtics because a lot of our players are performing well, but are still learning the game as professionals. I understand the Celtics have had deep playoff runs and came up short multiple times, but did we really expect to get through Toronto as easy as we did, and then not even have to deal with the Bucks? Calling for Brad Stevens' job and to blow up the Celtics roster is a HUGE stretch for a team with such a promising future, especially because Miami is such a great team.
Personally, I shift a lot more of the blame on the players then Brad Stevens. Taking off quarters throughout the game, a lack of intensity on defense, allowing second chance points, and poor offensive decisions led to the Boston Celtics losing this series. Possession after possession the C’s relied too much on the 3 ball, which just wasn’t working, especially when they were trailing big in games. There were many times in the series where the Celtics were being aggressive and attacking the paint, but it just wasn’t done consistently enough. A lot of this comes from inexperience and not having that Al Horford type leader, with playoff experience, on the team.
Going forward there is a lot to figure out for the young group of players in Boston. I believe the core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Kemba Walker will remain intact going into next season. The same questions we as Celtics fans had coming into the bubble still remain: What is the deal with Gordon Hayward? Who is going to be able to play Center for Boston? How will we matchup against other teams in the East getting healthy and better? Solving these questions is the focal point of this offseason for the Boston Celtics, who may have the most to prove before next year. After spending a long period of time stuck in the bubble the Celtics now head home and shift their focus to next year.
Tune in and Subscribe to our Podcast! https://link.chtbl.com/SinceTheSandboxPod