The Boston Celtics dug deep in the Eastern Conference Finals only to still come up short against the Miami Heat. They looked destined to pull off the 3-0 comeback before flopping in Game 7 at home. Boston started the series as badly as they finished it, leading to a stern talk from team owner Wyc Grousbeck.
After Game 3, Grousbeck came into the locker room and sent a harsh message to the team after they fell down 0-3 to the Heat, according to Jared Weiss and Jay King of The Athletic. Among other things, he urged them to simply play harder.
“With the season on the line following a 128-102 Game 3 loss to the eighth-seed Heat, Grousbeck came in hot. After Grant Williams asked everyone to clear the room so the players could have some space, Grousbeck went off,” writes Weiss and King. “His message to the effect that he has been building this franchise for over 20 years and the players need to play with some balls left the locker room stunned, several team sources who were in the room told The Athletic.”
Blake Griffin went on the record to say that Grousbeck was right but that the Celtics shouldn't have needed a pep talk like that. He's right — they should have met the moment more and came out with more fire. Although their efforts to climb the mountainous deficit were commendable, not getting to that deficit in the first place would have given them a much better shot to make the Finals.
The Celtics now have an offseason full of uncertainty, especially around the future of Jaylen Brown. He's one of the team's most important players but with one more year on his contract and with no extension in place, the possibility of him leaving could lead to a trade. Joe Mazzulla's spot is not totally secure, either.
Although the Celtics and their fans touted the 2004 Boston Red Sox as motivation, their story did not have a happy ending. And instead of kickstarting a run of great success like those Red Sox did, this loss from the Celtics could be a breaking point for this iteration of the team.