The NBA Finals have ended with Golden State’s title-clinching Game 6 win over the Boston Celtics.

At the championship stage, there are no moral victories. For what it’s worth, nine-time champion (combined as a player and coach) Coach Steve Kerr praised the Celtics for their run to the Finals after starting the season at .500 through the first 50 games. Boston ended up winning 26 of their last 32 games and finished the regular season with the League’s best defense.

The Celtics then went through a successful revenge tour through the Eastern Conference playoffs, beating the Nets, Bucks, and Heats on their way to the Finals. Those three squads are the only other teams to beat Boston in the last three postseasons.

“I wanna say congrats to the Celtics on a great series,” Kerr said. “They were incredible. Their defensive athleticism, length, and toughness was really tough to overcome. They had us on the ropes in the series and had a tremendous season. Since I’ve been here, we lost in the Finals twice, and it’s devastating to get this far and to come up short. I got a lot of friends across that hall between Ime and Will Hardy, Damon Stoudamire, Aaron Miles, a bunch of really good friends. Guys, I’ve coached and in FIBA, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White — great group of guys.”

“I genuinely feel for them cause I know what it’s like to lose at this point. But they had an amazing run, and it’s a great series.”

Steve Kerr sends his respect to the @celtics after a tough series.#NBAFinals presented by @YouTubeTV

— NBA (@NBA) June 17, 2022

For the first time in their playoff run, Boston not only lost back-to-back games after winning their first seven games after a loss, but they lost three straight for the first since late December. Turnovers played a significant part in that December losing streak, committing at least 15 in those three consecutive l’s. On Thursday, Boston coughed the ball up a season-worse 22 times.

The Celtics were 0-8 in this postseason when they turned the ball over at least 15 times. Jaylen Brown led Boston in scoring with 34 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, followed by Al Horford’s 19 points and 14 rebounds outing and Jayson Tatum’s 13 points and seven dimes on 6-18 shooting from the field.

“Offensively, we were not good this series,” said Brown, who was Boston’s leading scorer for the series with an average of 23.5 points per game. “Give credit to the Warriors. They forced us into doing stuff that we didn’t want to do, and that resulted in turnovers, et cetera. At times, we just got to be better. That’s it.”

Tatum, in particular, struggled with ball security, becoming the first player in playoff history to commit 100 turnovers. He also committed 23 turnovers in the Finals. Tatum scored 21.5 points per game in the Finals, a drop from the 27 he averaged during the regular-season. Tatum’s struggles in the Finals could be attributed to the grueling road to the Finals.

The Celtics played back-to-back Game 7’s against the Bucks and Heat, two of the most physical teams in the League. There’s also the emotional wear and tear it takes to make it to the championship stage.

Regardless, Boston’s core of Tatum, Brown, and Smart is under contract next season, and their championship window will still be open despite the significant challenges the Bucks, Heat, and Brooklyn Nets will present in Boston’s hopeful return to the Finals.

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