For better or for worse, the roller coaster ride that was the 2017-2018 Boston Celtics season has finally came to an end. Although it didn’t end in the fashion they had hoped, the entire team was present at the practice facility this morning for their exit interviews with Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge. When asked about the series loss to the Cavaliers, Danny Ainge was honest about the misfortune while also reiterating something the coach said in his post game presser.
The further you go in the playoffs, the harder it is to lose and what was interesting about [Sunday’s] game is I felt like it was one of the playoff games we lost that we should have won, and so that’s going to eat at all of us for a while. Hopefully, like Brad said, that pain you feel from losing is part of the growth we need to take to become a great team.
He added this on missing Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward:
I get a kick out of the fact that everywhere I go, people don’t think we need Kyrie or need Gordon Hayward. I have a much longer memory and remember how great those guys were and what an effort it took us to get them. I also remember how great they are and how young they are still. So we need Gordon and Kyrie, absolutely need them. If this playoff run and all the series of the playoffs didn’t show that, then I don’t know what does. We were able to win some games and we were able to fight through some tough battles, but we’re much, much better with Kyrie and Gordon.
Hopefully last night can put a rest to the “Trade Kyrie Irving” crowd. Yes, people were actually saying the Celtics should trade Kyrie because of Terry’s emergence this postseason. Terry shot 2-14 last night, and 0-10 from 3 point land. Terry has played better than anyone could have expected since Kyrie was ruled out for the rest of the season, but how could anyone possibly think the Celtics couldn’t have used a player who has already done THIS on the biggest stage?
This run clearly shows the Celtics needed another bucket getter down the stretch. After Jayson Tatum’s go ahead 3 following his dunk on Lebron James, the Celtics went quiet and scored only 2 points over the next 5 minutes.
Danny didn’t hold back when he was asked about what he thought it was like for Irving and Hayward, knowing they weren’t able to play throughout this run.
I think it was really hard. I don’t think any of us can really understand. That never really happened to me as a player, so I’m not sure I understand, but I could see it in their eyes all year when Gordon was out. It hurts to not be able to play, especially when the team was doing so well, and same thing with Kyrie. Those guys would give anything to be out there and play. I’m really excited about their motivation and how hard they’ve already been in their rehab. I think they’re going to come back in great condition and great shape next year.
It was hard enough for us as fans knowing that Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were not going to be there in the playoffs. Of course Kyrie and Gordon are excited and proud of the team, but as Danny touches on, it was hurting those guys not being able to be out there going to war with their teammates.
When asked about potential offseason moves…
We’re not going to do something unless it makes us better. And there’s no guarantee that those deals are there.
I believe John summed this quote up best…
Sorry Moose, but it was nice knowing ya. And please, take your Jayson Tatum trade proposals and stuff them in a sack.
Jayson was terrific. We knew Jayson was a good player. I think coming into the year, Jayson was probably projected to be a 20-25 minute per game guy off the bench, not put too much stress on a young kid’s shoulders that early, let him come along slower. So he obviously exceeded those expectations with the opportunity with Gordon’s injury. I think that he’s just scratching the surface. He’s got to get a lot better, both ends of the court. What I like about Jayson is he knows that. He will work to get better. We’re excited about his future.
Jayson Tatum was just the lead postseason scorer on an Eastern Conference Finals team, and he is just scratching the surface according to Danny Ainge. Everyone knows Danny Ainge would trade his left arm if it meant getting the big fish, but Jayson Tatum has to be as close to untouchable as there is.
On Gordon Hayward’s injury progression…
Gordon is progressing well. He’s on the court now, finally doing a little bit of competition, like just one-on-one. And he’ll progress along that line slowly. We think that he’ll be playing basketball in the next couple months.
This does not really answer the “will Gordon Hayward be ready to start next season” question, but it is encouraging. I’m going to believe the glass is half full, and I’ll take Gordon “playing basketball” as Gordon resuming full basketball activity. I was never very good at math, but if he’s going to resume full basketball activity in a couple of months, he should be ready to go come mid October.