Danny Ainge readily admits that the 2018-19 Celtics season was a challenging one.
The C's, who many predicted would come out on top in the Eastern Conference, finished with the No. 4 seed. While that would be a major accomplishment for most teams across the league, it's a disappointment for a Boston team that had such lofty expectations entering the campaign.
On the latest Celtics Talk Podcast, Ainge reflected on the adversity the Celtics faced throughout the season.
"I think it's been a challenge," Ainge told NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin. "There's been a lot of adversity. I've spent a lot of time during the season trying to talk guys off the ledge. I mean, there's been a lot of good things that I've seen, but yeah, there's some adversity. There's some growing that has to happen. I think that, you know, we've seen adversity that Kyrie [Irving] has gone through and the ups and downs that he's had. He started the season out well and in a good frame of mind and then I think went through some struggles there in January and February and, you know, regrouped and he's looked good and seems to be in good spirits."
Ainge went on to mention the individual struggles Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown experienced over the course of the season and praised them for the way they dealt with their situations.
"They've handled it well," he said. "I think that adversity is part of growing and maturing. I've seen a lot of really positive things over the course of the year. But it hasn't come together -- I mean, I'm not trying to sugarcoat it -- it hasn't come together as we all hoped, but I think there's a lot of good that can come from adversity."
The Celtics' playoff run will begin Sunday at 1:00 p.m. as they take on the Pacers at TD Garden.
Listen to the full Ainge interview and more below:
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