Every good movie wraps up by returning to its roots. People could predict that Tory and Gabriella would end up together in High School Musical. It was easy to figure out that Woody and Buzz would get back to Andy in Toy Story. And for the Boston Celtics, their season ended the same way.
Unfortunately, their roots were not nearly as pleasant.
In Game 6, with their season on the line, Boston turned the ball over, struggled to generate a rhythmic offense, and gave up a ton of offensive rebounds, similar to the early season woes that plauged them before turning it around in January.
“Just be better,” Jaylen Brown said when asked about the Celtics’ turnover issues and offensive struggles. “Offensively, we were not good this series. Give credit to the Warriors. They forced us into doing stuff that we didn’t want to do, and that resulted in turnovers, et cetera. At times, we just got to be better. That’s it.”
Boston had 23 total turnovers in Game 6, leading directly to 20 Golden State Warriors points. They also failed to score 100 points for the fourth time this series. And to make matters worse, they won both games in which they surpassed that mark.
While they shot a respectable 11-for-28 (39.3%) from behind the three-point line, Boston paired that with a subpar, 42.5% field goal percentage on the night. Outside of their 14-2 run to start the game, they struggled to maintain a consistent offensive flow.
“You tighten up and do some things offensively, it’s a different story,” head coach Ime Udoka said when asked if the team needs to add more pieces this summer. “So winning two games, falling two short, even tonight with a great start, then letting that go a little bit. It’s a 13-point game. They score 103. There was just a lack of overall offense.”
The Celtics actually out-performed the Warriors from deep in terms of three-point percentage throughout the series (40.8% vs. 36.7%), but the difference in two-point percentage was stark. Golden State shot 51.8% from inside the arc, while Boston shot just 45.6%.
Jayson Tatum was the biggest culprit of this inefficiency from two-point range. He struggled to string together efficient performances and only made 10+ field goals once throughout the course of the Finals.
“It hurts. We all could’ve done things better. I feel like I could’ve done a lot of things better,” Tatum said when asked about what he’ll take away from his NBA Finals performance. “But like we said, we competed, we tried all season, all playoffs. Take some time off, enjoy it with your family, rest, and then get back to it.”
So, in their final chance to save the season, Boston’s unfortunate roots got in the way once again. Now, they’ll focus on regrouping and retooling for next year, and hopefully, that journey brings them back for another shot at hanging Banner 18.