Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka revealed the message he told his team after its 106-93 home loss in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors that cemented their fourth title in eight years.
It was a tough loss for the C's, who cruised to an early 14-2 lead. However, the Warriors responded with a 35-8 run and never looked back. Boston could not cut the lead closer than eight points after that stretch.
Thus, the Celtics' season ended with a bitter disappointment and without a chance to take the series in San Francisco on Sunday, but the window is open for more NBA Finals runs given the talent assembled on this team, led by Jayson Tatum.
The ex-Duke star struggled in this series, but he's just 24 years old and should be in the playoffs every year at minimum. He's part of a team filled with players making their first NBA Finals appearances, including Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. Boston could very well be back in 2023.
Still, this one will sting, especially given the team's offensive performance.
Udoka also knows something about painful NBA Finals losses, as he was an assistant for the 2012-13 San Antonio Spurs, who battled the Miami Heat before losing a hard-fought seven-game series.
Credit to the first-year coach for piloting the C's to their first Eastern Conference title in 12 years, though, and now they'll hope to win the NBA championship in 2023.