With a 125-113 Game 6 loss to the Miami Heat, for the third time in four years, the Boston Celtics' campaign has ended one step short of the NBA Finals.
Each of those three times, Boston has come up short. For a franchise with 21 conference titles, the bar is obviously high.
However, for All-Star Kemba Walker, the team's marquee free-agent signing prior to the season, it was the first 'real' taste of the playoffs.
"It's been a really fun year to be around these guys," Walker said after the Game 6 loss.
"It's been a really fun year to be around these guys."@KembaWalker reflects on his first season as a Celtic. pic.twitter.com/SW7rBLGaII- NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2020
"I learned a lot," Walker began, talking about the first postseason of his career that went past the first round. "Just the intensity of the playoffs. Every possession just matters so much. Things switch from game-to-game, adjustments, every game is just different."
Walker was one of four Celtics to score at least 20 points in Game 6. Jaylen Brown was the team's top scorer with 26 while Jayson Tatum had 24 to go along with his team-high 11 assists.
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"Obviously, we feel like we underachieved," Brown said postgame. "Still, no reason to hang our heads. I think we had a really good group, young group, talented group that's only going to do nothing but improve."
"Still very very proud of this group."
One thing was clear after our elimination Sunday night: our guys really enjoyed the ride together this season. pic.twitter.com/6FlpsDwLsM- Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 28, 2020
"I really loved and enjoyed playing on this team," Tatum said. "There's a lot of guys who were so much better this season."
Head coach Brad Stevens echoed those sentiments. At the end of his seventh season, since he took over with the franchise as they began their rebuild in 2013-14, this was his sixth consecutive playoff appearance.
"My regrets would be the outcomes right," Stevens said. "My regrets not what we put in. My regrets not how we prepared, or worked, or how hard our guys worked or how committed they were to playing and staying together."
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