It has been almost two weeks since the Warriors defeated the Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals, and Marcus Smart still stays up at night thinking about their costly turnovers.
The Boston Celtics had a remarkable year despite failing to lift the 2022 Larry O’Brien. Behind the leadership of the All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, along with help from vital players like Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Grant Williams, among many others, Ime Udoka’s boys managed to turn their fortune around mid-way into the campaign. And the Cs somehow ended up finishing the regular season as the #2 team in the East, despite being 11th at one point in the year.
In the postseason, the inexperienced team led by a rookie coach managed to stun Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets in 4 games, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks in 7 games, and Jimmy Butler’s Miami Heat in a 7-game thriller, to be named the Eastern Conference Champions.
Despite putting up a valiant effort, Boston was unable to defeat Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors. Leading the San Francisco-based 2-1 at one point in the Finals, the Cs blew the lead and eventually lost the series 4-2.
“I can’t sleep and I’m thinking about those games and what we could’ve done differently”: Marcus Smart
Stephen Curry’s magical performance throughout the series was just a class apart, and one of the huge reasons why the GSW franchise has now won 4 titles in 8 years. However, apart from Chef Curry’s sensational production, the Cs turning the ball over also cost them the 18th title.
Tatum and co. turned the ball over 18 more times (97-79) in the entire series. And Marcus still can’t come to terms with the numerous crucial unforced errors his team committed. Also mentioning that he hasn’t been able to get any sleep, the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year said:
“I have moments where it’s late at night and I can’t sleep, and all of a sudden I’m thinking about those games and what we could’ve done differently,” Smart told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “And, I wish we didn’t run out of gas. Obviously, those series we went through to get to the Finals were so brutal. But, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. You hate to find your lessons in defeat, but sometimes you have to see rain before a rainbow.”
“I lay in bed thinking about our execution. We had so many damn turnovers, man, it was ridiculous. Unfortunately, that’s what we’d been doing the last couple of series. We flirted with it and it finally backfired and it bit us in our butts.”
Marcus Smart on losing the NBA Finals:
“I have moments where it’s late at night, and I can’t sleep. All of a sudden, I’m thinking about those games.”
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 29, 2022
To be fair, despite having no finals experience, the Celtics did give Steve Kerr’s boys a pretty hard time. There is absolutely no doubt that this team, with this same young core, will be legit contenders to win the title for years to come.