After an 87-79 loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, this Boston Celtics team leaves a lasting legacy for me, and the city.
If you’re a Boston Celtics fan, you know the story by now.
Every year for the past decade, the C’s have attempted to put a team together that can finally dethrone LeBron James. And every year for the past decade, Boston, as well as every other squad in the Eastern Conference, has failed to get over that hump.
On Sunday night, in front of the Boston Garden, James put up 35 points and 15 rebounds en route to another masterful Game 7 performance.
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According to NBA stats, LeBron averages 34.1 points per game in elimination games, which is the most in NBA history. The Cleveland Cavaliers bested the C’s 87-79 in an ugly offensive game where the Celtics shot an abysmal 7-39 from three, and 34 percent from the field. Terry Rozier, who became a folk hero earlier in the playoffs, finished 0-10 from three in a contest where he looked nervous every time he put up a shot.
Jaylen Brown, the other go-to scorer, went 3-12 from three. In the end, the C’s needed at least one of them to show up, and neither did.
On the other side, Cleveland received much needed help from J.R. Smith and Jeff Green, who combined for 31 points. Green shot 50 percent from the field and hit two huge threes in the third and fourth quarters to keep the momentum on the Cavs side.
In the end, LeBron will play in his eighth straight finals against a Golden State Warriors team that benefits from four future Hall-of-Famers and a top three coach in Steve Kerr.
Meanwhile, the Celtics will head into the offseason with probably the highest ceiling out of any team in the NBA, never mind just the Eastern Conference.
The status of Marcus Smart
Other than smoothly integrating Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back into the lineup without any drama amongst the other guards and forwards, the front office must also figure out what to do with Marcus Smart.
The guard reportedly told ESPN that he is “worth more than $12-$14 million.” When the summer hits, it will be interesting to see where the restricted free agent lands.
Without going too deep into the logistics of what the Boston Celtics should do with regards to their future, it’s important to recognize their accomplishments this season, even through adversity.