Celtics vs. Warriors takeaways: Old habits cost C’s in NBA Finals-ending loss

BOSTON — After 106 games, 65 wins and a berth in the NBA Finals, the Celtics’ 2021-22 season is over.

The Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start to win Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals Thursday night at TD Garden and used 23 Boston turnovers to clinch a 103-90 win that clinched their fourth championship in eight seasons .

As Golden State cemented its legacy as the most successful team of the 21st century, the Celtics will head into the offseason grieving three straight NBA Finals losses that wiped out their 2-1 lead.

Stephen Curry posted a team-high 34 points for the Warriors, earning his first-ever NBA Finals MVP award in the process. Jaylen Brown stepped up Boston with 34 points of his own while Al Horford added 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Jayson Tatum amassed just 13 points on 6 of 18 shots in an elimination game performance he would like to forget.

Here are our takeaways from the Celtics’ last loss of the season in their final home game of the season:

Warriors vaporize Boston’s hot start

Believe it or not, the Celtics were in a very good position after the first four minutes.

Boston jumped out from behind a trio of Tatum and Brown by a 14-2 lead and looked very poised for the moment.

However, the Warriors withstood the early barrage – then they completely turned the tables on the Celtics.

Golden State ripped off a 21-0 run — the longest in an NBA Finals game in 50 years – triggered by a rare Draymond Green 3-pointer, a Curry triple and a Jordan Poole banked three well past the arc.

That massive surge turned a 22-16 Celtics lead into a 37-22 deficit two minutes into the second quarter and stunned the TD Garden crowd.

Mixed results for Boston’s stars

Tatum dropped 46 points in a must-win Game 6 in Round 2, but that Game 6 was a whole different story.

While Brown kept Boston within striking distance with several key shots down the stretch, Tatum was an offensive non-factor late with just two points in the second half.

Jay and Silent Jay

Brown points in the second half

Tatum points in the second half

Perhaps Tatum is still suffering from a right shoulder injury, or perhaps he was simply gassed after a trying season. But the bottom line is that the Celtics’ best player failed to deliver when it mattered most on Thursday night, capping a relatively underwhelming final in which he shot just 35 percent from the floor.

On a positive note, Brown was arguably the Celtics’ most effective goalscorer of the series, emerging as the legitimate No. 2 player on a championship contender (despite his turnover woes).

Boston’s No. 1 has things to do this offseason, however.

The Celtics’ Achilles’ heel has been exposed one last time

Turnovers have been the Celtics’ downfall throughout the postseason, and their inability to keep the ball may have cost them a title.

Boston committed a whopping 12 turnovers in the first half alone, and the Warriors immediately switched them to offense at the other end to fuel their midgame upswing.

The Celtics went 13-2 this postseason when they had under 15 turnovers but only 1-8 when they had 16 or more. Only one team in the NBA (the Houston Rockets) averaged more than 15 turnovers per game this season, so the Cs just had to be average in the turnover department to have a chance.

Instead, Boston posted a season-high 23 turnovers as Golden State’s aggressive defense forced Boston to literally lose a championship.

Has anyone seen the Celtics’ bench?

Remember when Grant Williams scored 21 points against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7?

That seems like ages ago as Williams and the Celtics bench were MIA in the last two Finals games.

Boston’s three main reserves — Williams, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard — combined scored just five points on 2-of-10 shots and laid another egg together after scoring a total of four points 1-of-9 shots in Game 5.

Meanwhile, Jordan Poole (15 points), Gary Payton II (six points, three steals) and Kevon Looney (six offensive rebounds) made significant contributions on the Warriors bench.

The Celtics needed better efforts from core players like Tatum and Marcus Smart (nine points). But the bench’s lack of execution had a trickle-down effect, putting the full load on a Boston starting group that looked tired on points in Games 5 and 6.

Expect secondary scoring to be a key focus for basketball operations president Brad Stevens this offseason after outplaying the Celtics bench in Games 5 and 6 along 52-9.







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