Some miscellaneous thoughts on the end of the Celtics season as the takes begin to blossom:
THE CELTICS DIDN'T 'BLOW A FOURTH-QUARTER LEAD' IN GAME 7
Well, yes, they technically did, but shut up. They didn't. It was going back and forth and they led by one score twice, and both times it was negated the following Cavs possession. The lead they blew was the 12-point first-half lead, not the fourth-quarter "lead."
MARCUS SMART GOT THEM THERE
There's no easier target after being eliminated because your team took (and missed) too many 3's than Marcus Smart. He was 0-for-4 in Game 7. Duh. He stinks at shooting. Fans are also rubbed the wrong way by him talking contract after a loss like that.
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Here's the thing, though: You don't get out of the first round without Marcus Smart, who came back in Game 5 of the Bucks series and helped the C's win two of the next three. Yes, they won all of their home games for the first two rounds, but at the time Smart returned, all the Celtics were was an inexperienced playoff team that had just dropped two straight games and risked letting the series slip away.
We probably take for granted just how good Jayson Tatum got over the course of that playoff run, but we wouldn't have seen that growth if the run ends in the first round.
JAYLEN BROWN WILL NEVER MESS ANYTHING UP EVER AGAIN
It's not being smart that makes Jaylen Brown a potentially special player. Not to downplay Brown's intelligence, but lots of people are smart. What makes Brown seem special is that he doesn't seem like a guy who wastes his time. He's smart, so he was into academia. He's talented, so he works at his game.
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You have to think that Brown will be relentless this postseason after turning in a Game 7 failure. Ditto for the free throws. He stunk at those this season. Brown seems like a player who doesn't like staying bad at things.
THE JAYSON TATUM STORY ARC IS HILARIOUS
The Celtics went from "why did you trade down from No. 1 to No. 3 in a two-player draft?" to "if only they gave the ball to their best player, Jayson Tatum, they would have been in the NBA Finals."
No clue what happens minutes-wise when Gordon Hayward comes back, but the Celtics entered this season with three stars (Kyrie Irving, Hayward and Al Horford) and some promising young players. They legitimately have at least four going into next season, and that's not counting the progress that Brown, who was the best player on the floor at points during the postseason, will make.