About two hours after the sixth game, I walked past the locker room of Golden State and saw the remains of a brief but drastic party. There were empty bottles everywhere, Modelo and Moet’s obviously chosen drinks.
▪ Tell Green what you want, but the man has an elite role. TD Garden fans received white T-shirts in Game 4 with all 17 Boston Championship banners and an empty slot for number 18. Green got one hand and after winning the 6th game, he or an accomplice used black. marker to write a blank banner at the top of “Warriors” and “No !! Maybe in 23 years,” inside it. Then he wore that shirt on the way home.
▪ These teams face only twice in the regular season and one final game is not enough to create real rivalry. But thanks to some small struggles – mostly with Green – the seeds are definitely there. Some have already suggested that this rematch should be presented next season on Christmas Day. But as long as Kyrie Irving stays in Brooklyn – which is not certain – it should be Celtics vs. Nets and Warriors vs. Grizzlies.
▪ But if you just can’t wait for revenge next year, the Celtics and Warriors will meet in the Las Vegas Summer League on July 12 at 8 p.m. Are you excited?
▪ Danny Ainge, former president of basketball operations at Celtics, told me more than a month ago that he was going back to Boston to attend the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline. So it was no surprise that he was at TD Garden last Thursday.
Ainge ran the franchise for 18 years before retiring last summer and eventually rising as CEO and deputy governor of Jazz. His son Austin is still an assistant general manager of Celtics, and he’s pretty close to everyone in the franchise.
So for some reason it didn’t seem out of place to see Ainge, who is on top of another NBA team, walking through the tunnel with Tatum and Jaylen Brown after the last buzz. In almost every other situation, this juxtaposition would have been rather strange.
▪ There were tense moments in the finals, but it’s really wild that all six games were decided by double digits.
▪ Tatumi’s first NBA Finals were forgettable and it’s a shame that the last night of his mostly great season was one of Celtic’s worst. In addition to shooting 6 against 18, he sometimes seemed lost and his confidence seemed shaken.
I remember a fourth quarter of a ball when he caught the ball in the left corner – an extremely high hit rate for him – then hesitated, drove to the edge and was clearly confused on the trip, which is one of his NBA records. 100 playoff loss.
You could actually hear the fans shouting, “Shoot!” before he passed three of those corners.
Tatum is the only one who can tell if the fatigue helped him slow down. He certainly had a long year, from the Tokyo Olympics to leading the NBA in minutes of play-offs. But it’s hard to believe that this would be the case where there was too much wear and tear in the end.
There were two days off in the finals after four games, which is a virtual holiday compared to the rest of the season. The time periods were longer, no extra time was taken, and any poor scores usually reduced the intensity of the tense and energetic moments of play.
Tatum’s 28.8 percent use in play-offs was lower than players such as Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry.
Maybe Tatum wasn’t quite ready for the biggest stage. But experience will definitely help.
▪ There were significantly more Playoff audiences at TD Garden than at any other venue. Oddly enough, it didn’t seem to give a boost. The Celtics finished the second season at home only 6: 6 and away 8: 4. At the same time, the Warriors were home 11: 1.
▪ If Celtics fans are looking for something to feel good about, go check out one of Robert Williams’ highlights. The 24-year-old center was plagued by the pain of a knee surgery performed in March on a large number of play-offs, but he began to recall his usual edge against Warriors.
If he didn’t score – he scored 17 balls in the series, playing just over 26 minutes per game on average – he made the Golden State players rethink their choices on the field. The Celtics know what they have in Tatum and Brown, but Williams ‘ceiling continues to rise and his development may be the most important factor in Celtics’ title hunt.
▪ Celtics could probably rise on the bench, but its decline during the minutes of the play-off did not indicate that coach Umeoka had little confidence in his reserves. The playing time of the stars is always extended when the games are the most important. This is not uncommon.
Derrick White, Payton Pritchard and Grant Williams had some great moments during the play-off. They just didn’t shine during the finals. Williams’ net rating against the Golden State was minus 22.8 and White’s minus 18.7. Pritchard was 0: 7 on the pitch during the last three games.
▪ I am a self-made expert in chocolate cookies. Next time you’re in San Francisco, get it at Victoria’s Pastry in North Beach. Maybe I’ve stopped four times in the last few weeks or not. It’s the best I’ve ever had.
▪ If a team has some bad stretches during a certain quarter, there is a tendency to dissect the obvious problems that arise during those segments. For example, during most of the finals, the Celtics were confused in the third period – Golden State dominated throughout the playoffs.
Throughout the rest of the season, the Celtics outperformed their opponents by 12.8 points in the second quarter, overwhelmingly, the best in the NBA. Their net rating was plus 9.4 in the fourth quarter and minus 6.0 in the third. Their first quarters were even dead.
Adam Himmelsbach can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.
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