Boston Celtics fall short, but are poised to take advantage of good problems

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Go ahead. Comfort the Boston Celtics in soothing, dulcet tones that there’s no shame in losing to LeBron James: the greatest player in the game, a mammoth icon who played 48 minutes and demoralized his old familiar playoff foe in every possible way imaginable. Dagger 3-pointers, vicious defense, superb court vision and, above all, a Hall of Fame swagger that nobody else on the court — or perhaps this earth — could begin to duplicate.

Feel free to remind the Celtics that nobody — absolutely nobody — expected them to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a roster decimated from the outset because of crippling injuries to Gordon Hayward, then Kyrie Irving, then Daniel Theis, then Shane Larkin.nfl wholesale jerseys

It’s all true, of course, but don’t expect them to endorse a lick of it. The Sons of Brad Stevens, even in the wake of a crushing Game 7 loss in their own building, the only one of its so-called improbable playoff run, stomped out of TD Garden believing this was a game they should have won, even after shooting 34 percent for the game and an unfathomable 17.9 percent (7-of-39) from behind the 3-point line.331

They will wake up Monday morning fervently arguing that they belonged on this grand stage, not as underdogs but as legitimate contenders.

“None of this was ever improbable to us,” Marcus Morris said. “Like I said from the beginning, once I saw the draw for the playoffs, I expected us to be in the position we were in right now.

“But we take our hats off to Cleveland. They came back from a 2-0 [series] deficit. They had LeBron. We missed shots we normally make.”

Oh, those missed shots. Where do we start? There were so, so many of them. There was Terry Rozier, who missed 12 of his 14 offerings, including an 0-for-10 goose egg from behind the 3-point line. Just two nights earlier in Cleveland, in a far more hostile environment, Rozier torched the Cleveland Cavaliers for 28 points on 6-of-10 shooting from behind the 3-point arc.

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow,” said a visibly shaken Rozier in the quiet of the losers’ locker room.official nfl jerseys cheap

Later, when approached by ESPN in the hallway, Rozier was asked about the notion that this game was too overwhelming for a roster that averages 25.6 years old, which would have been the second youngest since the shot clock era had it advanced to the NBA Finals.