The Boston Celtics Did Not Win the 2022 NBA Finals: Presented by Youtube TV, but I am Incredibly Proud of this Team and Excited for its Future
As I start this blog at 4:30 pm on June 20th, 2022, the Golden State Warriors are still celebrating their parade day, which means the once-up 2-1 Boston Celtics did not win the 2022 NBA Finals: Presented by YoutubeTV.
Before today, I hadn't blogged since writing my preview for Game 6 and announcing that I was going to the Garden for the game. I don't need the h8rs thinking I was ducking this topic---Au contraire. I don't get paid for this yet. Your boi had to refuel his checking account somehow, and it was an eventful ass weekend on the roads.
But now it's Monday, I got up at the crack of 3 pm, and I'm ready to write. Obviously, I wish the Boston Celtics won the 2022 NBA Finals: Presented by YoutubeTV. Watching their season come to a crashing halt from the 300 levels, in a seat that cannot contain me, was less than ideal; in the moment, I was pissed. I was pissed they played so poorly. After the first three minutes that gave us the falsest of hopes, that game was torture. It was basically lost in the 2nd quarter, but they just couldn't get over the hump. If we hit a three to cut the lead to 8-10, GSW would bang one to bring it back to 11-14. At the start of the 4th quarter, down 10 with the ball, I was like, alright, this is our chance, and as it's been the theme all playoffs, the C's turned it over.
I might've even told a few friends/acquaintances (my entire fantasy group chat) that I hope some fentanyl ended up in the Warriors celebration coke, but I've since cooled down and returned to my hashtag good guy ways. That was just my dark sense of humor blowing off steam. What? Can't you dream about someone paying the ultimate price for beating your favorite basketball team for like 25 minutes? I'm glad all members of both rosters are still alive as of 4:52 pm.
I love basketball. I got into the C's before the Sox. My first Celtics memories are the 2002 ECF run, but I'm not nearly as confident in my abilities writing about it as I am with football or baseball before the Mookie Betts trade. In the seven calendar years I've been running DOL, the Celtics were the last (major) professional Boston sports franchise to make their league's respective championship. For a solid chunk of the season, it didn't even look like they'd make the playoffs, forget the Finals. We have to remember how we got to this point.
The 2021 part of the 2021-22 Celtics was gross. I remember being in Boston for a Halloween party and watching them lose to the fucking Wizards whilst sipping a comically large Blue Moon. All they did was blow leads and lose to shitty teams for months. It felt like a wasted season of the two young studs. The C's were not a fun team to watch. Some even wanted to split up the Jays (I NEVER DID!).
Then in January, the energy shifted. Instead of blowing leads, they blew teams out. Going from 18-21 to 51-31. I don't need to recap their whole playoff run; you can check out what I've written here on your favorite niche blog.
The Warriors no doubt earned it. All the credit to them for officially winning their 4th title since 2015. They made the shots they needed to and certainly forced SOME of the Celtics turnovers, but it's alright to be butthurt and frustrated. They played a beatable series. I genuinely believe that. The Celtics could've won if they tightened things up and weren't so careless with the rock. A few key stretches made all the difference in this series, and if a couple of shots fall (or don't fall...seriously fuck Jordan Poole), it could be the Celtics having a parade this week.
Tatum had plenty of superstar moments throughout their run, and there's no way they make it this far without him. 0.00% chance. His shoulder is fucked up, but he grew a ton this season. His passing abilities have skyrocketed, he's an elite defender, and I loved seeing what his dad wrote about him.
You can also say that his play cost them this series. Both can be true. I think it's unfair to compare anybody to Lebron, but I mean, this is pretty crazy.
It's not an apples-to-apples comparison. JT's only 24 (age 23 season) and helped lead the Celtics to the Finals. Like, Steph Curry didn't even make the playoffs in his age 23 season. JT's not even close to his prime. Instead of focusing on the fact he "underperformed," celebrate the fact his team got to this point. Even in my biggest fuck Lebron days, I didn't hold his 07 Finals loss against him. Dragging that team to that point was an accomplishment. The 2022 Celtics were a much more well-rounded team than the 2007 Cavs, but the similarities to their numbers with Tatum's trajectory is encouraging.
What wasn't encouraging was the turnover record JT set these playoffs.
But I'm not really here to talk numbers. This blog is more of a rambling reflection of an entertaining playoff run that I know my life desperately needed. I loved this run. It sucks that it's over, but I'm glad I got to cheer them on for a great season in the final minutes of Game 6 when we all knew it was about to end. I wish I had watched more games with friends and family, but I was able to soak in a solid chunk of it with loved ones. I went to two playoff games with my best friend, including Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Again, the game sucked, and it didn't get to be as fun as we'd hoped, but there were moments. When we got up to our seats, I literally breathed it all in and let out a "Dude, we're at the fucking NBA Finals" and got a decent laugh from those around us. Like, that's really fucking cool. I've been pretty lucky with the meaningful games I've seen in person, and while it didn't go the way I wanted, it was an excellent experience for about 22 minutes.
I watched the C's win game 2 vs. Milwaukee with my dad, then watched them win Game 4 of that series at my grandma's with my mom. Both of my divorced parents live in disgusting ass Deathsantisland, so I don't see them a ton, and it was nice to spend that time with them. Friends came to my house and I went to theirs to watch games. It was just great to experience this Finals run with other people after the last couple shitty years.
Yeah, it sucks that there's not gonna be a championship Blu-Ray this year, but only one team per season gets that honor, and I'm beating this into the ground, but we went from 18-21 to Game 6 of the NBA Finals. This run was a gift. Yes, the East is loaded, and there are no guarantees in getting back. Still, with this young, under-contract core, a solid rookie head coach, and a front office willing to do whatever it takes to get that elusive Banner 18, it feels like it's coming, eventually.
Jaylen Brown was a turnover machine, but he is also turning into a bucket. He was clutch AF all playoffs long (outside of the turnovers). The Jays can get it done if they get a little more help from the rest of the roster. Marcus is Marcus. Robert Williams III showed glimpses of the absolute animal he is in the paint, but a gimpy knee kept him from being his true self. Pritchard and Grant are nice pieces, but they're far too inconsistent.
If you told me the Celtics would be in the 2022 NBA Finals: Presented by YoutubeTV in December, I would've never believed you. It's still hard to wrap my head around them going from playing Joe Johnson to the Finals. I know in Boston, things have gotten so championship or bust, especially with how the Celtics handle things. There won't be a 2022 Eastern Conference Champions banner at the Garden, but it was a hell of a season and one I won't ever forget. Losing sucks, but this isn't a team of losers. They showed heart and grit for months. They were written off (including multiple times in the playoffs) and came to the brink of a championship.
Of course, the wasted opportunity aspect sucks because this was a winnable series, but the future is bright. We knocked out the last three teams that ended our season and lost to the best shooter of all time. Look at NBA history; teams usually get to the Finals in bunches. The C's are ascending. I can't wait to see how the Jays comeback next season. Go C's.
I mean this is almost as impressive as getting every game right.