Anything can happen when a series goes to a Game 7 and after winning three straight elimination games, the Boston Celtics simply ran out of gas. The Miami Heat ran them out of their own building in the final game of the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the 2023 NBA Finals.
Boston's season is now over and after reaching the 2022 NBA Finals, they will hit the drawing board on what is a very important offseason for the organization. Amid chatter about massive changes that could happen to this team and roster, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla spoke about his team after their heartbreaking loss to the Heat.
“It's one of the best locker rooms I've been a part of,” Mazzulla stated. “Guys cared. They gave it everything they had. That's the most important thing to take from this. Obviously, we didn't achieve our goal. We didn't win, which was our goal. So, we failed in that regard, but it's not because the guys didn't have a sense of togetherness, character and just who they are as people.”
After going down 3-0 to the Heat in this series, there were questions being asked about Mazzulla's leadership and if there was a sense of disconnect in the locker room. Winning three straight games though with their backs up against the wall says a lot about this Celtics team and they really did give it their all to pull off what would have been a historic comeback.
“Like I said, just I love them, and they need to know — when we were down 3-0, the thing was
how do we want to be defined,” Mazzulla continued. “I thought they showed a lot of character by even getting to this point.”
When asked if he has any regrets looking back to the early parts of the series and if there was anything he would have done differently, Mazzulla simply stated, “No.”
Losing to the Heat in Game 7, the Celtics now begin an offseason that will be full of question marks. Mazzulla figures to be back as the head coach after taking the team to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year on the sideline, but this roster could look completely different.
Grant Williams will be a free agent this summer and Jaylen Brown is entering the final year of his contract. Boston will have major financial decisions to make and already having a payroll that exceeds $160 million for the 2023-24 season, they could face heavy penalties with the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) coming into effect.