Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka has challenged his young team to come back stronger after their dream of an NBA final against Golden State ended on Thursday.
The Warriors were forced to watch the celebrations at their own TD Garden Arena after Vodoka and its Celtic players completed a 4-2 series victory after losing 103-90.
The loss shattered Boston’s hopes of a record 18th NBA Championship and draws a line under a successful Celtic season that was painfully shortened.
Vodoka told his players that he wanted the sting of defeat to give the title a new lease of life next season.
“It was part of the message. Let it move us forward, experience,” said Udoka. “The growth and progress that we have made this season.
“The biggest message was learn from it, grow from it, take this experience and see if you can reach another level. A team like Golden State who came there did it. It was clear in many ways. “
Vodoka says Boston’s race to the finals this season was “just the beginning.”
– NBA (BANBA) June 17, 2022
“A foundation has been laid,” he said. “We can go on the field next year. Let’s stay healthy and stay on the same page.
“We have seen what we can achieve. It hurts that we fall short. But the future is bright and we are just beginning, so let’s all come back to this experience better. “
Vodoka said the Celtics’ lack of restraint at the moment has also proved costly and will add determination to improve next season.
“If we don’t play our best, maybe playing our worst overall series is enough inspiration,” Vodoka said. “We have highly motivated guys who haven’t played their best, honestly.”
Boston star Marcus Smart says the Celtics have “gotten smaller.”
“It’s tough. We’ve been through a lot this year as a team, as a team, individually, collectively,” Smart said.
“The obstacle that was in front of us, we have won and we have won. I woke up in a very short time tonight. “
Smart says the Celtics will take the Udoka challenge to heart.
“We are learning. That’s part of it, “he said. “You take it and go to the next season and you try to make it, the things we did wrong and the things we did great.”
Jayson Tatum says the Celtics need to “go one level higher” to challenge next season.
“It is difficult to get to this point. It’s harder, to overcome the hump and win it, “said Tatum.
“It’s a long journey, a long process. What I took from it: It’s hard. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. “
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