We just witnessed the greatest ever Boston Celtics season that didn’t end with a championship.
Yes, I’m wearing my green-tinted glasses today, despite the hard truth that the Celtics’ season ended two wins shy of Banner 18. And yes, I know that finishing second in a two-team contest isn’t good.
Am I disappointed that they lost The Finals? Of course. It’s an ordeal to get that far, and you never want to miss that opportunity because there’s no guarantee it will come again. Nevertheless, I’m not upset like I have been in other years.
The fact is, the Celtics had a great season that happened to end with a terrible week. It was the first time in 2022 that they lost three straight games. Worse yet, it was the first time in franchise history that Boston lost three straight Finals games. Still, I can live with it.
This take does not mean everything is rainbows and puppy dogs with the franchise. Instead, it’s to say we can and should appreciate what the Celtics achieved over the past five months, while being optimistic they can get back to The Finals next year and take home the Larry O’Brien trophy.
I’ve been a Celtics fan since Red Auerbach was coaching, and trust me, there’s never been a season like this one. The closest one perhaps was the “Hospital Celtics” coming within a few minutes of beating the Cavs in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.
During eras when the team was championship caliber, any year they didn’t hang a banner was a failure. Many times, those defeats left scars. I’m not over Game 7 losses to the Knicks in the 1973 ECF, or to the Sixers in the ’82 ECF, or the Lakers in the 2010 Finals. And I never will get over them.
There have also been many years where the C’s haven’t been contenders – those were failures, too. To be fair, at least we didn’t have title hopes crushed.
But this season was unique because of the way it unfolded. NO ONE expected the Celtics to make The NBA Finals – yet they did. And they were five minutes away from taking a 3-1 lead before the Warriors pedigree surfaced.
You know the details. After a .500 season and a first-round exit, with a rookie President of Basketball Operations and a rookie head coach, expectations for 2021-22 were very low. Preseason championship odds ranged from 40-1 to 50-1. And when the Celtics played even worse through the first half of this season, the mood became extremely dark.
But that second half. We had the joy of watching them catch fire, of…