Ime Udoka’s Message To Celtics After Losing In NBA Finals To Warriors

'It's going to hurt and it will hurt for a while'

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BOSTON — While Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka had been through an NBA Finals lost before when he was an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, this was a new feeling for his players.

The Celtics saw their goal of winning an NBA title disappear right before them Thursday night when the Golden State Warriors clinched the series and the championship with a 103-90 victory in Game 6 at TD Garden.

It was an up-and-down series for the Celtics with them falling two wins shy of banner 18. Udoka knows the sting of this loss won’t fade in the near future, and the first-year head coach wants the Celtics to grow from this experience of playing on the biggest stage the league has to offer.

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“It’s going to hurt and it will hurt for a while and probably that stuff never goes away — I lost one before,” Udoka told reporters. “That was part of the message. Let it propel us forward, the experience and the growth and progress that we made this season. Obviously getting to your ultimate goal and falling a few games short is going to hurt and there are a lot of guys in there very emotional right now. The message was, we thanked them for the effort and the growth and everything they allowed us to do coaching-wise this year.

“And the biggest message was learn from this, grow from it. Take this experience and see there’s another level to get to with a team like Golden State, who has been there, done that and it was evident in a lot of ways. Just don’t come back the same as players, coaching staff and let this fuel you throughout the offseason and into next year.”

It will be a long offseason now for the Celtics, but heeding Udoka’s words will certainly be important for their development going into next year.

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