TD Garden was filled with the heartbreak of Boston Celtics fans on Thursday night. Despite the Celtics’ hot start, the Golden State Warriors took them down in Game 6 of the NBA Finals by a score of 103-90. It marked Golden State’s fourth championship in eight years.
Turnovers and a lack of defensive rebounding hurt the Celtics, as they have throughout the entire postseason. Boston’s offense also continued to struggle, as they failed to score 100 points for the fourth time in the six-game series.
Celtics star Jayson Tatum spoke to the media after the game, explaining how difficult it is to do what Boston did. And despite the sting of losing, he said, knows that the Celtics have to take things to another level next year.
“It’s hard. It’s hard getting to this point and it’s even harder getting over the hump and winning. … We’ve gotta take it up another level to do what we need to do,” Tatum said.
Tatum also spoke about that aforementioned sting of losing in the Finals.
Tatum: ‘It’s a Terrible Feeling’
During his postgame press conference, a distraught Tatum explained how it felt to lose on the game’s biggest stage. He said that it’s a “terrible feeling,” especially considering how badly Boston wanted to win.
“Just knowing how bad we wanted it and coming up short it’s a terrible feeling,” Tatum said.
The Celtics superstar struggled in Game 6. He dropped 13 points, three rebounds, seven assists and three steals on 6-of-18 shooting from the field and 1-of-4 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. Tatum also added five turnovers to his totals.
His averages for the Finals weren’t too pretty, either. In the series, Tatum averaged 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 7.0 assists. While those stats don’t seem too bad, his 36.7% field-goal percentage was detrimental to the team’s success. Tatum shot 45.5% from long distance but just couldn’t find his rhythm inside the arc.
As he hinted at when discussing Boston’s need to take things to another level, Tatum said he also believes that the sting of this loss will fuel the Celtics moving forward.
“You don’t want to feel like this again. But you want to get back here. To answer your question, yeah. It’s going to fuel us,” he said.
As far as the offseason, Tatum grudgingly acknowledged that the rest would help him refuel for next year.
Tatum on Offseason Rest: ‘No Choice Now’
When asked about the need for rest, Tatum, 24, said he had “no choice now.” He said that he would spend the offseason resting and spending time with his family.
“No choice now. This is tough. … It hurts. We all could’ve done things better. I could’ve done a lot of things better, but like we said, we competed, we tried all season, all playoffs. Take some time off, enjoy it, get with your family, rest, get back,” he said.
Tatum hasn’t had much time off over the past few seasons. Between the Bubble in 2020, the NBA’s shortened season in 2021 and playing for Team USA in 2021, the Celtics forward hasn’t gotten much downtime.
Now, Tatum will have almost four months to regroup and prepare to bring this Celtics team back to the NBA Finals next year.