It wasn't because of their extended first-round series.
It wasn't for the lack of Kevin Garnett.
And it wasn't due to bad coaching.
It was because of the inconsistency shown throughout the Playoffs, and, even moreso, it was for the lack of leadership that the Boston Celtics' season ended early.
Yes, I am pointing my finger at Paul Pierce. It is not the first time I do so in this postseason. I have argued that his motivation appeared lost; it seemed that both his game and his mind just weren't there.
During the second-round series against the Orlando Magic, Pierce was awful. He capitulated when his team needed him the most.
With Kevin Garnett in a suit on the sidelines, the team needed Pierce to step in and be the true captain. He was not.
They needed him to control the pace. He did not.
They needed him to get everyone fired up. He did not.
Ray Allen is a shooter. Sometimes he'll make the shots, other times he won't. Davis and Perkins are still "big babies" and, although they gave us some of the best playing time this season during the Playoffs, they clearly lacked the support and the little pushes from their "older brothers."
Point guard Rajon Rondo almost did it all by himself, but he's only human and as such eventually found himself running on empty. In any case, he was, without any doubt, the best Celtic out there.
Coach Doc Rivers worked with what he had and, apart from a couple of good games from Eddie House, the rest was simply not there.
Of course, having more depth on that bench would have been helpful; it was like the club was playing with a five-and-a-half man rotation. But nothing can justify Pierce's attitude throughout the Playoffs. He was throwing in the towel even before it all began.
I said it in previous articles, and I will say it again: Pierce looked like he didn't believe the Celtics could win it, and it showed on the court.
The team, the coach and the fans didn't deserve it. I hope he thinks about it during the summer and deals with whatever he needs to deal with. Otherwise, I hope he doesn't bother showing up to training camp.