The Boston Celtics kept it close, but the Brooklyn Nets pulled away late in the fourth quarter of Game 5 on Tuesday to send the C's packing.
James Harden led the way for Brooklyn with a game-high 34 points and 10 assists. Kyrie Irving chipped in 25 points and Kevin Durant added 24 of his own.
Jayson Tatum struggled in the first half but found his groove in the second half to finish with 32 points. It wasn't nearly enough as the Celtics went on to lose by a score of 123-109.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Celtics' season-ending defeat.
Romeo Langford ends season on a high note
Second-year guard Romeo Langford showed once again Tuesday night that when healthy, he can be a real factor. The 21-year-old was one of the few bright spots for the Celtics in their loss.
Langford started and made the most of his 38 minutes, tallying 17 points to go with two assists, two steals and two blocks. He also shot 7-for-12 from the field (3-for-7 from 3-point range) which was an encouraging sight for a C's team that hopes he can make a leap offensively next season.
One of Langford's blocks was an emphatic swat on James Harden that followed a 3 on the other end:
If Langford can provide these kinds of performances with consistency -- and that will require staying on the court -- he could be a big piece for Boston in 2021-22.
Live by the 3, die by the 3
(The Celtics did the latter).
In the first quarter, the C's jacked up 16 3s and hit only three of them. They were 6-for-26 from beyond the arc at the half while the Nets were 7-for-15. Marcus Smart's nine 3-point attempts in the first half (1-for-9) matched the combined total of Brooklyn's Big Three (4-for-9).
That ain't going to get the job done.
If the Celtics are going to take the 3-point barrage approach again next season, they'll need to find more consistent shooters than what they currently have. Tatum and Jaylen Brown will hold their own, but Kemba Walker can't be depended on to stay on the court and Smart can't be counted on to be the secondary scorer on a nightly basis.
Out-shooting the Nets is a daunting task for any team, but Boston had a chance to take control at numerous points Tuesday night. With more sharpshooters in the lineup, they may have lived to see another day.
Danny Ainge has plenty to ponder this offseason
An unceremonious end to the season leaves the Celtics with a number of question marks heading into the summer. C's general manager Danny Ainge will have his work cut out for him as he looks to put together a roster that can contend in 2021-22.
Smart's future in Boston will be a subject worth monitoring during the offseason. Do the C's move on from their longest-tenured player before paying him his next contract?
What about Walker? Will the Celtics give it one more try with the injury-plagued point guard, or will they go in another direction?
These are just a couple of the many puzzle pieces Ainge will have to put together during what certainly will be an interesting next few months.