ORLANDO — As the Celtics reflected on their blown opportunity, their chance to reach the NBA Finals as the highest seed left in the Eastern Conference, Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is On” blared through the cozy AdventHealth Arena as the Miami Heat celebrated their return to elite status.



A steady dose of Miami's Bam Adebayo doomed the Celtics to defeat.


© Mark J. Terrill
A steady dose of Miami’s Bam Adebayo doomed the Celtics to defeat.

The Celtics could have been on the floor celebrating, drowning in confetti and sharing deep hugs, but they just weren’t tough enough. They lacked the killer instinct. They panicked in crunch time. They were exposed for their lack of a true center.

They just weren’t good enough.

The Celtics will, however long this offseason lasts, lament this series. They gave away the first two games — or rather they were taken away from them — and when they needed to be perfect, they weren’t.

Miami had

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The Eastern Conference finals aren’t over yet, but the end may be close.

Technically, the Boston Celtics can still rally back from a 3-1 deficit to the Miami Heat, and unlike many 3-1 deficits, the road to a winner-take-all Game 7 actually exists. Jayson Tatum is probably the best player in the series. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown aren’t far behind. Gordon Hayward was built in a lab to help beat a zone, which is Miami’s only viable defense given their man-to-man struggles against the Celtics.

The Celtics need be solid. Move and drive the ball, don’t turn it over, value possessions and crank out one win at a time without looking too far into the future to realize how difficult the task ahead of them may be.

The task, however, feels exceedingly tall, especially in light of Game 4 — the latest in a series of disappointing outings by

Read More

The Eastern Conference finals aren’t over yet, but the end may be close.

Technically, the Boston Celtics can still rally back from a 3-1 deficit to the Miami Heat, and unlike many 3-1 deficits, the road to a winner-take-all Game 7 actually exists. Jayson Tatum is probably the best player in the series. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown aren’t far behind. Gordon Hayward was built in a lab to help beat a zone, which is Miami’s only viable defense given their man-to-man struggles against the Celtics.

The Celtics need be solid. Move and drive the ball, don’t turn it over, value possessions and crank out one win at a time without looking too far into the future to realize how difficult the task ahead of them may be.

The task, however, feels exceedingly tall, especially in light of Game 4 — the latest in a series of disappointing outings by

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BOSTON – Brad Stevens somehow found tranquility in the aftermath of an emotionally exhausting, double-overtime defeat to the Raptors in Game 6 Wednesday night.

A looming win-or-go-home Game 7 hasn’t stressed him one bit. It has instead excited him as a rare opportunity that has been placed in front of him, his players and his staff.

“It’s funny,” he said Thursday, “out of the last four weeks, I think I slept better last night than I’ve slept at any time, because I knew we competed, I know there’s things we can clean up, and I’m also looking forward to this because this is what you’re here for.”

‘This,’ as Stevens and his players have consistently referred to Game 7, is the aforementioned opportunity, which in this particular case should be referred to in the plural.

Friday night is an opportunity for individual Celtics to go down as legends. It’s an

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ORLANDO — You hope the Celtics can get over this, coming up empty after a 58-minute battle with their sudden arch-rivals from the North, coming so close to a berth in the Eastern Conference finals but unable to make that one final play or perhaps draw that one pivotal foul.

The Celtics walked away from their 125-122 double-overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors an angry bunch but strangely encouraged. They played well enough to win but the Raptors, especially Norman Powell and Kyle Lowry, made more plays Wednesday.

The anger boiled over after the buzzer when Marcus Smart got into an exchange with some Raptors players follow yet another close and controversial finish. Toronto coach Nick Nurse, who is rising up to the Joe Torre and Pat Riley level of villainhood in Boston, once again complained after almost every call and resorted to screaming when Celtics players were holding the

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