The Boston Celtics have silently bid farewell to the first round and have now drawn personal conclusions. We answer the most important questions about the situation.
Why was the season so disappointing?
After three participations in the Conference Finals in the past four years, the Celtics started the season ambitiously despite the loss of Gordon Hayward, but it became clear early on that it would not be enough for such a deep ride or even more. There were too many failures due to injuries and Corona, the squad was too thin – and that dragged on to the playoffs.
A deep analysis of this series against Brooklyn is hardly worthwhile, since it was not a duel on equal terms from the start: Boston’s second best player Jaylen Brown was missing completely, Kemba Walker (officially) missed two games and was non-existent at his three starts (12.7 Points, 31.7 percent out of the field, 17.6 percent threesome!). With Robert Williams, the player who should have matured to the starting center also missed twice.
It somehow suited this season that Jayson Tatum was left on his own again in the end (30.8 points in the series). That Boston won a game at all was due to one of the best scoring performances ever in the Celtics playoff history, when he scored 50 points in game 3 and because Marcus Smart also made his best game in the series.
Even here Brooklyn was 19: 4 in the front and could have won the game if they had been a little more consistent in the matter. In terms of talent level, there were simply worlds between a legitimate Contender and a Celtics rump troupe that rarely found their rhythm over the entire season.
Boston never got kicked for the entire season
The reasons for this were manifold: No team recorded more corona failures, in addition there were several injuries, so that rookie Payton Pritchard (66), Tatum (64) and Grant Williams (63) were the only Celtics who did not miss at least ten games. In Tatum’s case, there was also the fact that he had to play many games restrictedly after a corona illness, weeks later he still needed an inhaler and complained of problems with his breathing.
The Celtics simply couldn’t afford to spare their best players any longer: the squad was too thin, and especially on the wing, Boston had almost no NBA experience behind the starters. Evan Fournier was supposed to fix that after his trade, but ended up in the COVID log himself.
That was just one of a number of steps that were supposed to help, but in the end had little effect. In a nutshell, Boston experienced the year out of hell – and has now consequently left the first round of playoffs without a sound.
The personnel consequences did not take long: on Wednesday, one day after the departure, the long-time team president Danny Ainge resigned and Brad Stevens switched to his position. Finding a new coach will now be his first construction site.