It’s amazing how a season can turn on a dime isn’t? In the last Clover Report I wrote, the Celtics had a 3-2 lead and were one win away from the NBA Finals. Now the season is over; just like that. Throughout all of the up and downs, throughout all of the good times and bad times, the 2017-2018 season has come to an end for the Boston Celtics. Let’s recap the final two games of the season. Caution, this could be painful.
Game 6 was back in Cleveland, where the Celtics had struggled mightily. The Celtics got off to a much better start as they led the 25-20 after the 1st. Things looked even better when Kevin Love went down in the 2nd quarter with a concussion. The opportunity was there for Boston, but then well; LeBron happened. The Cavs outscored Boston 34-18 in the 2nd quarter and went on to win the game 109–99. LeBron went off as he scored 46 points and willed the Cavs to a Game 7. Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown combined for 55 points but it wasn’t enough as we headed back to Boston for Game 7.
It’s cliché to say, but its so true. The two best words in sports are Game Seven. I was nervous going into this game because I thought this was going to be a grind it out type of game. It was and that favored the Cavs because of their lack of offense outside of LeBron. The Celtics got off to a good start as they led 26-18 after the 1st and built the lead to 12. But they couldn’t put the Cavs away as they chipped away. The Cavs hung around and took their 1st lead in the 3rd quarter. The Cavs and Celtics began to trade blows for the rest of the game; including one Jayson Tatum dunk on LeBron James. But, it was the Cavs who made the plays down the stretch and won 87-79. LeBron scored 35 as the Cavs advanced to their 4th straight Finals and James to his 8th straight. The Celtics season was over just like that.
In a vacuum, that was one of the most disappointing losses I have experienced as a Celtics fan. Not because LeBron beat us again, but because the Celtics beat themselves. They couldn’t hit a 3 to save their life and never attacked the paint when the shots weren’t falling. And still, they had a shot to win at the end. After 100 plus games, the Celtics showed their age. But looking back at this season as a whole, it was a rousing success. Kyrie Irving established himself as a leader and a number one option, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown developed into superstars, Brad Stevens continued to show why he’s the best young coach in basketball, and they did this all without Gordon Hayward. 55 wins and 1 win away from the NBA Finals was more than what I expected from this group and that’s what makes next year so promising. If everyone is healthy, the Celtics are the favorite to win the Finals; no two ways about it. But until then, enjoy the offseason everyone. Make sure you watch the video below at least 100 times. Its a glorious preview of things to come.
Steve Santoro (SVS_1993)