Celtics

Celtics owner admits 2018-19 team was among 'hardest teams to love'

Celtics owner admits 2018-19 team was among 'hardest teams to love'

Boston Celtics fans expected their team to compete for an NBA championship during the 2018-19 season, but instead the year ended in tremendously disappointing fashion with a lackluster second-round playoff exit to the Milwaukee Bucks.

It was one of the most frustrating Celtics seasons in recent memory, and the team was not easy to love. Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, appearing on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Felger and Mazz" show Wednesday afternoon, talked about the disappointment of the season.

"It was one of the hardest teams to love, from my standpoint," Grousbeck said. "Just to answer for myself. I wasn't coaching them but I was watching them. It was frustrating. It was a tough year for everybody concerned. I think the fans all feel that. We're going to try to make it better. We all feel that. The highs and lows --  it just has been frustrating."

One of the most frustrating aspects of this season's group was its potential. You could argue Boston's roster was the most talented and deepest in the entire league, but the coaching staff was unable to put all of these pieces together into one cohesive unit that consistently played team basketball.

"It didn't mesh together," Grousbeck said. "It was like a really great car, but it just wasn't quite assembled or didn't quite run the way you would think it would run. It was pretty frustrating because we had a lot of potential and we showed it at times, and other times it just fell apart."

The Celtics have a ton of options to consider this summer in regards to improving the roster to compete for championships. At the top of the list likely is the future of Kyrie Irving, but Grousbeck had little to say when asked about Boston's star point guard.

“We’re really just going to go through the roster, the 15 guys, and say who’s here, should we move some of the guys, should we re-sign these people, what are we going to do," Grousbeck said. “We start every late May, or whenever it is, we start with a clean slate and put together the team for next year. It’s really like a new movie, with a new script, and in some cases a new cast. And hopefully a new ending.”

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Larry Bird receives lifetime achievement award at 2019 NBA Awards

Larry Bird receives lifetime achievement award at 2019 NBA Awards

The Magic-Bird rivalry had another moment in the spotlight on Monday at the 2019 NBA Awards.

Both Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson were honored with the lifetime achievement awards by the NBA.

The awards were absolutely deserved by both players. The duo reignited the Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers rivalry in the 1980s and from 1980-88, either Bird's Celtics or Johnson's Lakers were in the NBA Finals, and they squared off in three series. And in that time span, either the Celtics or Lakers captured eight of the nine NBA titles, which is absolutely remarkable.

Bird was one of the greatest Celtics of all-time. He averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game over the course of his 13-year career with the Celtics. He is top-five for the team in most major statistical categories including points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. He truly was a game changer and had many moments of greatness throughout his career.

And after his playing career was over, Bird became a very good head coach with the Indiana Pacers and later ran their front office. He won a Coach of the Year in his first season with the Pacers (1998) and also took home the NBA Executive of the Year in 2012.

Bird is simply one of the greatest basketball players, and minds, that the sport has ever seen. Between his statistical prowess, his three titles, two Finals MVPs, three NBA MVPs, and his resume as a coach and front office executive, it's easy to see why the NBA wanted to honor him. And doing it along with his long-time rival, Johnson, just made the moment sweeter for the highly accomplished and revolutionary duo.

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Marcus Smart wins NBA's Hustle Award

Marcus Smart wins NBA's Hustle Award

On a night where the Celtics weren't up for many 2018-19 NBA awards, Marcus Smart took home a prize that would have made Red Auerbach smile. 

Smart won the NBA's Hustle Award, which couldn't have been a better way to recognize his play last season and over his entire career with the Celtics. He was also named to the NBA's First All-Defensive team for the first time, and it'd be surprising if it was the last. 

Smart had the best all-around year of his career in 2018-19. After signing a four-year contract to stay with the team that drafted him sixth overall in 2014, he shot a career-high 36.4 percent from three to go along with his consistently superb defensive output.

On a team that lacked the heart and will to win in the face of adversity, Smart represented the kind of wherewithal Celtics fans hoped the rest of the roster would show night in and night out. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and it contributed to the team's ultimate demise in the second round against the Bucks. 

The Celtics came up empty handed in the marquee awards Monday night. Al Horford came in third place in the NBA's Sportsmanship Award voting. 

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