4. Celtics disappointed optimism
There are two ways to look at this.
First, is the optimistic approach. The Celtics were one game away from the NBA Finals with Al Horford as their best player and three players in their first true playoff run. They ran up against LeBron James. Better and more experienced teams than these Celtics have fallen to LeBron. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re the Celtics. They’re young and they’re gaining two All-Stars in the offseason. They might be the favorite in the East next year if LeBron does end up in Los Angeles or somewhere else out west. They might be the favorite in the East is LeBron stays in Cleveland.
Second is the pessimistic view. The Celtics were right there. They had Game 7 in their building. They held the Cavaliers to under 90 points and 25 percent shooting from 3. They had a 12-point lead in the first half and won the rebounding battle. They got the looks they wanted throughout the 4 -minutes.
While Boston could be the favorite in the East next season, nothing is guaranteed in sports. It’s possible injuries hit them hard again or their young guys don’t develop with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back. It’s possible LeBron stays in the East and teams up with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. There are no guarantees in sports. This might be as close as Boston ever gets to making the Finals. It doesn’t seem possible based on this season, but a guy making eight straight Finals didn’t seem possible either. And here we are.