The Celtics Amazing Post Season Run Falls Short In The Finals
As I write this, I have Marvins Room by Drake blaring through my AirPods. Just a dagger to the heart. The Celtics felt like this years team of destiny heading into the post season. At the All Star break, the Cs were 6th in the East with a 34-26 record and the fan base was ready for a first round exit when the playoffs eventually rolled around.
Then, things changed. After the break, they went 17-5 and secured the 2nd seed on the final day of games. The Bucks actually rested their starters to fall to the 3rd seed to avoid a matchup with the Nets; the Celtics played their starters though and didn't run from the smoke.
A Series Filled With Emotion
Round one meant a lot more than a chance to advance in the playoffs. Round one was a chance to beat Kyrie Irving; a scumbag who desecrated the Cs logo and trashed the Celtics on his way out the door. Well, Boston brought the heat to Irving and Nets right away. In game one, Tatum dropped 31 points and 8 assists along with the game winning, buzzer beating layup on Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics would go onto sweep the Nets in 4 with Jayson Tatum leading them in scoring in every game, his biggest contribution coming in game 3 when he dropped 39 points with 6 steals. These were statement wins. It was a statement that the Celtics were a dangerous team to play. They were a team that you didn't want to run into. I mean, why would you want to play them? They just swept a squad led by Kevin Durant, arguably the best scorer of all time, and Kyrie Irving. Next up on the docket was the Milwaukee Bucks.
Seven Games? So What
Milwaukee would prove to be a tougher foe than Brooklyn who rolled over like a dead dog. Without Khris Middleton by his side, Giannis would have to go full Dark Knight mode to stop the rolling Cs. In game one, Giannis did just that. He went for a triple double with 24 points, 13 boards, and 12 assists. He also got the win putting the Celtics down 0-1. Losing at home in the playoffs always hurts, so the Celtics responded in game 2 with a 109-86 win. Off the back of Jaylen Browns 30 points and Horford's 11 boards, the Celtics ran the Bucks out the gym.
Boston hit the road for games 3 and 4 and split them losing game 3 103-101 and winning game 4 102-82. Heading back East to the Garden with the series tied 2-2 meant the Cs needed to win this game...and they lost. Giannis dropped 40 points and 11 rebounds in the 110-107 win while Tatum and Brown combined for 60 points and 14 boards. Going on the road facing elimination left a massive pit in my stomach, but Tatum, Smart, and Brown combining for 83 points and winning 108-95 alleviated that.
When game 7 came back to Boston, I knew there was NO WAY ON GODS GREEN EARTH WE LOST. While the Greek Freak went for 25 points and 20 boards, the rest of his team got shut down. Boston won 109-81 with Rob Williams out of the game. Grant Williams stepped into the starting lineup and dropped 27 points while Smart had a double double with 11 points and 10 assists. This win was sweet, but one more team stood in the way of making the finals; the Jimmy Butler led Miami Heat.
Jimmy Butlers A Bad Man, But Jayson Tatums Badder
The Miami Heat were a tough and mean squad led by one of the leagues super villains, Jimmy Butler. His villainous counterparts included Bam Adebayo, PJ Tucker, and Kyle Lowry. For the second series in a row, the Cs dropped game 1. Tatums 29 points and 6 assists weren't enough to counter Jimmy Butlers 41 points and 9 boards. Down 0-1, the Cs tied the series 1-1 with a 127-102 win behind 27 points for Tatum.
In Boston, the Heat and Celtics split game 3 and 4 keeping the series knotted. In those two games, the tandem of Brown and Tatum contributed 93 points. Game 5 was back in Miami, and in a shocking turn of events, the Celtics took the series lead winning 93-80 behind a Tatum double double. Coming back to Boston with the chance to eliminate Butler and the Heat was an electric feeling and the city was BUZZING. The jubilation quickly turned to panic though when Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry combined for 65 and won 111-103.
When it came time for game 7, I was nervous. A bit scared about losing because this really felt like our year. Jimmy Butler came out the gate firing and dropped 35 points and 9 rebounds which would usually be a good enough effort to win game 7. Fortunately for the Celtics, Brown, Smart, and Tatum combined for 74 points and Al Horford grabbed 14 rebounds. The game came down to the wire, but the Celtics prevailed 100-96. We were going back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
Is This Our Year?
Making the finals really was the balls. Beating a KD and Kyrie led Nets, the Bucks with former MVP Giannis, and the Super Villain Heat was unreal to watch; but the job wasn't done yet. Golden State was the final team on the gauntlet to winning a championship and game 1 was in the Bay Area. Going into the 4th quarter, the Celtics were down by 18. Myself and every other fan were ready to call it a game, but the Celtics clawed their way back and outscored Golden State 40-16 to win 120-108.
The Celtics went onto win game 3 after dropping game 2, but unfortunately wouldn't win again. The Warriors (mainly Steph) got hot and didn't take their foot off the gas. Andrew Wiggins somehow played like a first ballot Hall of Famer and Gary Payton II showed why he'll be one of the NBAs top defenders for years to come.
While losing in 6 really hurt, there were some good things. On a bum knee, Rob Williams really dominated on the defensive end picking up 5 blocks in game 6; and Al Horford showed that age is just a number being one of the most consistent players through the whole playoffs. My only concern is about Jayson Tatum disappearing when you need him most. Facing elimination, he dropped 13 points on 6-18 shooting with 5 turnovers. Is this really the "superstar" we want to trust for years to come? I guess that will be answered next year.