The Celtics’ 2021-22 season felt like a marathon.
Boston found itself on a roller coaster through the first three months of the campaign, showcasing inconsistency that led many to believe the C’s weren’t to be taken seriously as an NBA Finals contender. But the Celtics ultimately proved those doubters wrong with a red-hot stretch over the back end of the regular season, ultimately securing the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed.
Led by franchise cornerstones Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston made quick work of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs before battling through seven-game series against both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat. The Celtics’ grueling run ended in heartbreak, though, as they were forced to watch the Golden State Warriors celebrate another NBA title at TD Garden.
Tatum and the Celtics have plenty to learn from their NBA Finals experience and areas for improvement heading into next season are apparent. But in the short term, Brad Stevens wants the All-NBA first-teamer to step away from the game for a bit.
“I just told him, ‘Go on vacation. Go get some rest,'” Stevens on Tuesday told reporters about his post-Finas message to Tatum, per the Celtics. “This guy gave us everything he had.?
Given Tatum’s underwhelming performance in the deciding Game 6 against the Warriors, it’s become easy to forget how impressive the 24-year-old’s body of work was in his fifth NBA season. Tatum also has shown noticeable improvements in each season to date, and he’ll surely be committed to carrying out that trend once he returns to the grind following a deserved break.