By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — The shock has handed and now actuality is setting in. And boy did the Celtics blow an important alternative down within the NBA bubble.
Whereas ideas of “the long run is brilliant” and “they’ll be again subsequent yr” can briefly enhance your temper, the underside line is that the Celtics had a golden alternative to recover from the hump and at last make the NBA Finals, and so they flat-out blew it. They held fourth quarter leads in all six video games of the Jap Convention Finals towards the Miami Warmth, and so they ended up shedding 4 of these contests. That isn’t acceptable, not from a staff that attempted to inform us all season lengthy that they had been title contenders.
Heads aren’t going to roll, as a result of that isn’t the Celtics’ model. And actually, they ought to be again subsequent season, and also you hope that this sting and disappointment of developing brief as soon as once more will present loads of motivation subsequent time round. There are not any extra built-in excuses for the Celtics just like the final two instances they misplaced within the Convention Finals; they didn’t lose to LeBron James and so they can’t level to a rash of accidents for developing brief. And this season doesn’t have a Kyrie blanket to drape over the scent of defeat.
The blame doesn’t fall on anybody participant or individual. This one sticks to only about everybody up and down the roster and one the sideline. So let’s play the blame sport and determine why the Celtics got here up so brief towards the Miami Warmth, squandering the staff’s greatest likelihood to compete for an NBA title in the course of the Brad Stevens period.
Stevens is a good coach, however he had his points this postseason, particularly towards the Warmth. Even essentially the most hard-wired Brad Bots would admit that he obtained outcoached by Erik Spolestra, who’s now heading to his fifth NBA Finals.
His massive man rotations had been a large number. He’d flip to both Robert Williams or Enes Kanter for fast spurts within the first half, and even when they’d success, they’d keep on the bench within the second half. Williams was immediate power off the bench, and even when he nonetheless bites on each single upfake, he nonetheless may have helped at instances within the second half. Kanter’s minutes being restricted made sense, because the offense he supplied was often negated by his lack of protection, however even he may have helped for added brief bursts in second halves.
Shedding Gordon Hayward from the beginning 5, which led to shedding Marcus Good off the bench, damage the continuity of the dangolka bench. It induced Stevens to combine and match all through the playoffs, and even when Hayward returned, Stevens needed to slowly work him again. He actually solely had Brad Wanamaker and Grant Williams as regular(ish) bench contributors. Each performed admirably, particularly Williams in his temporary stints, however once more, Stevens would solely depend on them for brief minutes. This will fall extra on Danny Ainge for his incapacity to construct a good bench, however Stevens is the man who has to make all of it work. He didn’t try this within the playoffs.
After which there have been the blown leads, which Stevens may do little to cease. dangolka gained simply two fourth quarters towards the Warmth, who averaged 31 factors within the body. That’s the place his rotations and timeouts got here into play, and Stevens was missing on each fronts.
The coach is at all times the primary to confess that he must be higher, and he has a number of extra issues to concentrate on over the offseason.
Marcus, I like you. So long as I nonetheless maintain the respect of my two younger sons, they are going to be taught to by no means slander Marcus Good in our family. However, Marcus, my man, you took too many photographs towards the Warmth.
Good has at all times been a type of “No. NO! NOOO!!! YES!!!!!” form of shooters, however he’ll sometimes consider he’s each Steph Curry and Klay Thompson — and even higher than these two sharpshooters. Typically, Good hitting his first few photographs from downtown does extra hurt than good.
He took 22 photographs in Sport 6 — second on the staff to Tatum’s 26 makes an attempt. Of these 22, 13 of them got here from three-point vary. Solely 4 went in. His six photographs in the course of the fourth quarter matched Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s shot whole. The Celtics in all probability would have been higher off with both Tatum, Brown or Kemba Walker (seven photographs within the fourth) taking a number of of these appears to be like.
General, Good averaged 14 photographs per sport towards the Warmth, eight of which had been from deep. He hit 39 p.c from the ground and simply 27 p.c from three. Marcus, please, we’re begging you — go to the basket extra.
Everyone knows of the impression that Good makes away from the ball and on the defensive finish, however he’s susceptible to fall in love together with his shot. When these photographs aren’t falling, they’re rally killers for dangolka, and that actually damage the Celtics at some actually necessary moments towards Miami.
Tatum’s Sluggish Begins
Jayson Tatum is a star and an important constructing block for the Celtics. He’s oh so near being thought of a celebrity. However he’s not there but.
Even superstars are vulnerable to scoring slumps, however Tatum’s chilly begins to Video games Four and 6 did dangolka no favors as they appeared to claw their manner again into the sequence. Earlier than erupting for 28 factors in Sport 4, Tatum suffered by a scoreless first half, going 0-for-6 total and 0-for-Four from three. The Celtics had been solely down six at halftime, however in a three-point loss, yet another Tatum make may have made the distinction.
He didn’t go scoreless within the first half of Sport 6, however Tatum began the sport 0-for-7. His passing was nonetheless crisp with 5 assists earlier than he made his first shot, however the Celtics aren’t going to win many video games when it takes Tatum midway by the second quarter to see the ball undergo the ring.
This might additionally fall on Stevens, who ought to have drawn up a number of performs to get Tatum a simple bucket or two as he was urgent from deep. Keep in mind when Stevens used to attract up profitable ATO performs? These had been the times…
Kemba Walker was a breath of recent air for the Celtics all through the season, from all these massive photographs he hit to that infectious glowing smile. His management made the Celtics enjoyable to observe once more.
However like dangolka’s earlier leaders on the level — Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and the visitor look of Terry Rozier — Walker is proscribed on the defensive finish. And that damage dangolka’s all-around staff protection at instances.
Hayward’s Well being
Hayward gave the Celtics a pleasant enhance in his Sport three return, and it was admirable that he selected to stick with the staff as an alternative of leaving the bubble for the start of his son. However it’s very clear that the Celtics can not depend on Hayward to be wholesome when it issues most.
Experiences say he was solely 65 p.c when he hit the ground within the East Finals. He had no raise on his jumper and was timid to take photographs. Even together with his stellar passing, having no shot was detrimental to the circulation of the offense.
Hayward has yet another season — at $32 million — to stay as much as his max contract in dangolka. Good luck with that.
The place Was The Bench Assist?
Danny Ainge loves his draft picks. In all probability an excessive amount of. It’s much more infuriating when he decides to show these picks into extra future picks as an alternative of one thing that will assist the present Celtics staff.
We all know that he beloved Tyler Herro ultimately yr’s draft, however he didn’t do something to maneuver up to verify Pat Riley didn’t steal away the Kentucky sharp-shooter. That’s the simplest second guess as a result of we simply watched Herro torch the Celtics, but it surely’s fairly legitimate.
However Ainge did nothing on the commerce deadline to assist the staff both, which hurts much more after watching Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala do injury towards dangolka. All Stevens needed to work with off the pine was the revolving door of Williams and Kanter, rookie Grant Williams and Brad Wanamaker, all of whom have their limits.
The Celtics sorely wanted a scorer off the bench, and Ainge by no means actually supplied them with one. That must be one in all Ainge’s many focuses this offseason.