Celtics Believe This Season’s Hardships Will Make Them Stronger

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics’ season came to an abrupt and disappointing end Wednesday night, as they fell to the Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Though, before exiting the visitor’s locker room at Fiserv Forum, C’s coach Brad Stevens made it a point to leave his players with a positive, thought-provoking message as they headed into the offseason.

“All this stuff that we’ve been through, we’ll all be better because of it,” he told them. “Because we’ve learned a lot.”

Boston’s players have now had a day to digest that statement, as they are now beginning to reflect upon what this rollercoaster of a season has taught them and are looking ahead to how they can build from it.

During their exit interviews Thursday afternoon, the Celtics portrayed a collective feeling of disappointment and unfulfillment, noting how the team did not live up to its potential. However, they also agreed that the adversity they faced will only make them stronger as individuals and as a group.

“There were times when we were frustrated with ourselves for sure,” Marcus Smart reflected at the team’s training facility in Brighton. “We also had times where we did see that (potential). We had glimpses, and that’s what kept us very optimistic is those times. I think if you ask anybody on the team, we wish we could do it over and just wipe this out of our minds.

“But, it’s good for us all,” he continued. “Some adversity is good for you. It builds character and it makes you wiser in the future. It’s going to benefit everybody. You live and you learn.”

Jaylen Brown, in particular, learned a lot from this season. He says that it took him out of his comfort zone in a variety of ways, all of which helped the 22-year-old mature tremendously.

“It tested me,” said the third-year wing. “It tested me definitely mentally, physically, and when you get challenged, that’s where growth happens, being uncomfortable. I had to adapt, my role changed, my responsibility changed. I had to adapt in so many different ways. Mentally I had to grow up – I grew up this year. The little kid stuff went out the window. Being mature, handling everything the right way. There’s no time for crybabies, nobody cares in this league. So, I had to grow up. That made me better as a person and better as a basketball player.”

It also taught Brown and his teammates not to take anything for granted, no matter how talented of a roster they have.

“In this league you never know what to expect, so you can’t let things catch you off guard,” Brown said. “You prepare for any outcome no matter what, so I would make sure I’m prepared for any situation, no matter what is thrown at you. It took me some time to figure it out, but I’ll be more prepared in the future.”

While the Celtics are ready to move on to the future, it’s important that they don’t forget their past. This season was full of life lessons and the adversity that came with it can only be beneficial as these players move forward with their careers.

“Like I said, this is going to help everybody,” said Smart. “We live and we learn, and we just move on.”

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