BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics don’t have a LeBron James. They don’t have a Stephen Curry. Or a Kyrie Irving. Or a Kevin Durant. Or a Kevin Love. Or a Klay Thompson.
This was no secret, and even when Isaiah Thomas was healthy, the Celtics remained the longest of long shots to get past Cleveland. Once Thomas was shut down for the season? No chance.
The Celtics themselves maintained the right mind-set, but realistically, they knew the challenge was likely too much to overcome.
Still, even given that understanding, the Celtics were far from satisfied with their season ending in Game 5 on their home court against the Cavaliers.
“It’s a good step forward as a season as a whole, but I leave with a little bit of a taste in your mouth,” head coach Brad Stevens said. “Not playing as well here, and man, you want to play well here because there is really no place like TD Garden in Boston. When the fans at the end of the game were [chanting] — man, it’s just amazing. And so, as I told our guys, we made a lot of great strides, but this pain is part of the path to what we ultimately want to be.”
Avery Bradley led the Celtics in scoring with 23 points in Game 5, but he understandably celebrated very few positives after the loss.
“We’re definitely disappointed. I feel like if we weren’t, there’d be a problem,” Bradley said. “It’s a big time accomplishment, but this leaves a certain taste in your mouth, to not get to the [Finals] … . We’ll be better next year.”
Jae Crowder said the loss should inspire everyone on the Celtics payroll to get better.
“It sucks. It’s the worst part of the year. Getting eliminated, falling short of your ultimate goal, it’s a pretty hard thing to swallow,” Crowder said. “Ultimately we feel like this is a bad taste and it should spark a little bit of motivation for each and every body in the locker room to get better. I think that goes with coaching staff and players and anybody just has to get better, just to get back to this situation and get over the hump.”