The Boston Celtics future is bright, but they just wasted a great opportunity

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics fairytale postseason run came to a heartbreaking end in Game 6 against the Golden State Warriors. The Celtics faded fast after a scorching start, and while they fought valiently to the end, they were never able to make the Warriros sweat after the opening stretch of the game.

Anytime you lose in the Finals, it’s going to be disappointing. But the way Boston fell apart to end this series makes it sting just a bit more. They were up 2-1 in the series, had leads in the second-half of both Games 4 & 5, yet managed to throw it all away. It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow this offseason.

With the offseason suddenly upon us, it’s worth noting that the Celtics entire core is under contract for next season, and their star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is still extremely young. They should continue to contend for championships in the next few years.

But you can never count on that to happen. Sure, some teams like the Warriors become dynasties, but there are teams like the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder that seemed to be on the verge of greatness, but could never reach the top of the mountain. Boston just wasted a fantastic opportunity to reach the top, and they are going to have to work even harder to get back to the spot they were just in.

The Boston Celtics squandered a great shot to begin writing their legacy

Getting all the way to the NBA Finals is not easy. Considering the gauntlet of opponents Boston had to go through on their way to just reach the Finals, their difficulty was seemingly multiplied by 10 from the get go.

They drew the fearsome duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, and proceeded to sweep them out of the playoffs. Pretty resounding considering many people picked Brooklyn to come out on top in that series.

Next, they dethroned the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks and their franchise cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo. This was even more impressive considering they fell behind 3-2 in the series and pulled off an improbable Game 6 victory in Milwaukee before throttling them on their home court in Game 7.

And then in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics exorcised their demons from 2020 by taking down an underrated Miami Heat squad. They had to stave off the Heat on their home court in Game 7 to win the series, but once again, they prevailed.

That path just to reach the Finals is ridiculous. But a lot of things also broke Boston’s way throughout. What if the Nets had Ben Simmons (who admittedly would have been a huge question mark) on the court for that series. What if the Bucks had Khris Middleton? What if Jimmy Butler hit his potential game-winning three in Game 7 to cap off a miraculous rally for the Heat?

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The Celtics are undoubtedly good, but they got clobbered on their way to the Finals, and there was clearly some luck involved in their run. Granted, the same thing is true for the Warriors, who beat up a pair of injury-riddled squads in the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies in the first two rounds before taking down an overmatched Dallas Mavericks team in the Western Conference Finals.

But when it came to the Finals, one team took advantage of things breaking their way, while the other didn’t. That’s primarily why Golden State won. Boston handed them a lot of things this series, and while the Warriors deserve a ton of credit for forcing the issue, it ultimately falls on the Celtics’ shoulders when all is said and done.

For much of the postseason it seemed like Boston was just destined to win. How could you not believe that after their improbable fourth quarter rally in Game 1? But they couldn’t close it out, and they are going to regret it for quite some time.

Now, it’s not like this is the end of an era for the Celtics here. Again, every key player from their rotation is set to be back for next season. After watching his team fall apart in the Finals, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens will certainly be hard at work finding ways to bring in the final pieces to cement the Boston Celtics as a true championship team.

But thinking about next year in the immediate aftermath of this game is daunting. Think about everything Boston had to overcome on their postseason run. Chances are they will have to take a similar path next season. The Bucks and Heat remain huge threats, the Nets may finally put everything together next season, and the same could be said for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Next. NBA Finals about the rise and struggles of Jayson Tatum. dark

Making it to the NBA Finals is incredibly hard, and you cannot afford to throw away opportunities to win when you get there. Yet that’s precisely what the Boston Celtics just did. The future for this team is bright, but there’s a chance that this may have been their best shot of winning a championship. It will be up to them to prove otherwise.