And just like that the season is over. Another disappointing performance by the Celtics in Game 6 as they lost 104-92.
Game 6 felt just like Game 5, slow start, Celtics lead, Hawks dominate. This time the C’s made a little run when they were down by as many as 27 points and cut it to 10 at one point in the fourth. Gave us hope but it was just too late as Atlanta held on.
The Hawks defense was stifling and they suffocated everything at the rim. Isaiah Thomas (25 points, 10 assists) saw seas of red every dribble he took. IT struggled out the gates but Jonas Jerebko (13 points) kept the Celtics alive with an early 8 points. But nobody was hitting their shots and it seemed everyone that was shot air balled or clanked the back board.
The Hawks are just too good of a team to not shoot well against. Once guys like Kyle Korver (14 points, 9 rebounds[?!]) and Kent Bazemore (15 points) get going it opens everything up for Atlanta. Dennis Schroder (13 points, 8 assists) was getting into the lane pretty easily, collapsing the defense and making everything easier for his teammates. And I haven’t even mentions Atlanta’s two best players, Al Horford (19 points) and Paul Millsap (17 points, 8 rebounds).
Not enough is said about the impact Korver had on the game. I’m not a huge fan of the plus/minus stat but this series he averaged +11.5. And everytime he’s on the court is when the Hawks make their runs. Every time I saw him checking back into the game I grunted a bit. Thats how good of a shooter he is, you CANNOT leave him open. Very underrated player.
As for our beloved Celtics. It was a great season for a young team. Most players made significant strides and gained some experience. I whole heartily believe if Bradley doesn’t get hurt, this series goes at least 7 and we don’t get blown out the way we did. His impact on defense is unbelievable and he’s one of two guys that can actually make a shot from the outside consistently.
As for this individual game it came down mostly to shot making. Gotta make shots. In the regular season it was the Celtics strategy to play quick, take quick shots and turnover the opponent. In the playoffs teams don’t turn it over as often, game slows down, and the C’s just didn’t have enough fire power in the half court.
This offseason will be huge with draft picks already at #16, #21, #31 and four other second rounders. And of course the third best odds at the top overall pick on May 17 draft lottery. Plenty of cap space to sign potentially 2 max contracts (Durant? [a man can pray]). This offseason will be fun.
I’ll be back with end of the season grades for each Celtic player and some offseason coverage. Now its time to pick a bandwagon.
Boston Celtics ’17-’29 NBA champs.