‘It’s going to hurt’: Despite Finals letdown Celtics see bright future

June 8, 2022; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka reacts in the second quarter during game three of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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June 16 (Reuters) – Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka comforted his young team after their loss in the NBA Finals series on Thursday by saying the pain is easing and there are brighter days ahead.

The Celtics suffered a 103-90 home loss to the Golden State Warriors to drop the best-of-seven series 4-2 and Udoka said there was no escaping the pain.

“It’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt for a while,” said Udoka when asked what his message to his team was.

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“That was part of the message. Let’s drive from experience. Reaching your ultimate goal and missing a few games is going to hurt.

“The biggest message was to learn from it, grow from it, have that experience and see that there is another level to reach.”

The Celtics had youth, size and athleticism on their side, but the veteran Warriors, who won their fourth title in eight years, kept their nerve in the series’ greatest moments, winning the final three games.

“A team like Golden State that was there did that. It was obvious in many ways.

“Just don’t come back like players, coaching staff. Let that fuel you throughout the off-season into next year.”

The Celtics started the season 18-22 but got going as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown found their rhythm on offense and their switching defense became the best in the league to secure second place in the Eastern Conference.

After a strong start on Thursday, the Celtics’ Achilles’ heel was exposed again, taking the wind out of their sails with 23 turnovers. They also gave up 15 offensive rebounds to the Warriors.

“We went through hell to get here,” Warden Marcus Smart said.

“We didn’t play our best basketball, our best series. This is probably our worst series.

“But we’re young and the things we went through to get here showed us what we need to do in the future. I think that’s why we’re confident about the future.”

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Editing by Peter Rutherford

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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