On Thursday night, the Boston Celtics lost the NBA championship to the Golden State Warriors on their own home court in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Although they made a couple of runs, there was never the sense the Celtics had a real chance at winning that contest.
It was a continuation of a trend that had started in Game 4.
In these past three games, Boston looked weak down the stretch, as it got outworked and out-hustled by the champion Warriors.
By Thursday, it became clear that this Celtics team had numerous flaws and shortcomings, beginning with its lack of poise when things mattered most.
Jayson Tatum when the Celtics need him most
— #45➡️🌴 (@AdebayosGoat) June 17, 2022
The Celtics Showed Little Fight
Just one week ago, Jayson Tatum and crew were in control of this series.
They had taken Game 3, 116-100, and held a 2-1 series lead, while the Warriors looked to be in trouble.
Numerous observers said the Celtics were simply too big and too athletic for Golden State, while no one for Golden State, save Stephen Curry, was getting the job done offensively.
“the celtics are just too big for the warriors”
“celtics won game 1, this is over”
“celtics are favored to win the finals”
— 𝙂𝙤𝙝𝙖𝙣 𖤐 (@fearluka) June 17, 2022
In Game 4, the Celtics looked like they were controlling the game through three quarters, yet they were only able to hold a modest lead.
Down the stretch, they couldn’t hit shots when they had good looks, and they allowed the Warriors to out-rebound them by a large margin.
In Game 5, the Warriors took an early lead, but Boston came back to make it a competitive ballgame in the third quarter.
However, in the final frame, the missed shots piled up, and the Celtics’ normally tight defense allowed Golden State to score 29 points, its highest-scoring quarter of the game.
Thursday night was the same old story but in a different way.
This time, the Celtics fell behind big in the second quarter, and although they made things semi-manageable late, they couldn’t get out of their own way, as they committed 22 turnovers for the game.
When the series started, the Celtics looked like a tough and physical team, but by the end, they had been exposed as soft and not ready for the big moments.
They Weren’t Good Enough Offensively
Looking forward to this offseason and the 2022-23 season, the Celtics need to become a better offensive team, period.
In each of their losses in the Finals, they scored less than 100 points and shot under 42 percent, and no team can expect to beat any type of quality opponent with anemic offensive numbers such as those.
Boston needs more offensive punch outside of Tatum, who had a terrible series, and co-star Jaylen Brown, as the team was exposed by the Warriors as a two-horse gang.
It can use someone off the bench who can give them instant offense, as well as an experienced floor general who can stabilize the team during the type of key dry stretches that cost them this championship.
If the Celtics don’t address these problems, there is a good chance they won’t even return to the NBA Finals next June.
One could make a strong argument that had Khris Middleton not gotten injured, the Milwaukee Bucks would’ve beaten them and perhaps repeated as world champs.