It stings now, but the Boston Celtics will be better for it in the long run.
The Celtics came within 12 minutes of an NBA Finals berth, but eventually fell in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.
Boston went on an improbable playoff run without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. And although the C’s came up short of their ultimate goal, forward Al Horford believes this postseason only will help Boston’s young players going forward.
“I think that this is going to help shape the rest of their careers,” Horford said Monday, via Celtics.com. “I truly believe that. … I hope they are able to take away the intensity and the commitment to defending and doing those little things in order for us to be able to be successful. We did it for most of the year and in the playoffs, we took it to another level. But there’s a lot more challenges for this group — that we can grow — and I’m looking forward to it.”
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier got invaluable experience this postseason and the Celtics, who will add Irving and Hayward to a team that was one win away from the NBA Finals, should benefit from their young stars enduring the fire of the NBA playoffs.