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Sean Grande | Boston Celtics PxP Voice

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May 30, 2023 6:08 am

Sean Grande | Boston Celtics PxP Voice

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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May 30, 2023 6:08 am

Play-by-Play voice of the Boston Celtics Sean Grande joins the show to recap a crushing Game 7 defeat, and where the Celtics go from here.

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That's slash positive. Sean Grandy, Celtics radio and tv actually, and always with a flair for the dramatic end, the big picture perspective. We're pleased to welcome him now from Boston in the wake of game seven and a convincing Miami Heat win.

Sean, we'll start with the question that is on everyone's mind. What happened? What was the difference in game seven? I think it went off the rails 20 seconds into the game when Jason Tatum landed the way he landed and was, what, 30%, 40% of himself.

And it's more than, you know, there were 200 possessions after that. But something that's happened over the last few weeks for the Celtics is that Jason Tatum, whether he would say this or not or whether he even truly realizes it, he is the unquestioned leader of this team in this way. That team takes their cue from him and him making shots and making plays, his energy, and he had nothing to give.

And I think that carried over. And obviously you take that, you take your number one weapon away and the emotion that comes with it. Add to that the disastrous Molotov cocktail recipe for the Celtics when they lose games at home is poor three-point shooting and bad turnovers.

And you dig yourself a hole. You have the biggest advantage you have on your side is that crowd, which was, that was, they went from, as I said, the second half, it went from the loudest I've ever heard that building to the quietest. And it happened because the Celtics just kept missing shots and turned the ball over. And Miami is a team that will, they played to the maximum of their capability throughout the series. And they were going to force the Celtics to play well to beat them. And the Celtics played well in three games, but not four. The Celtics do have guys who can score at the rim. They have the ability to go to the rim. Why do they settle for threes the way that they do when they're not dropping?

That's a great, it's a fair question. I think particularly it's almost, you know, there are design plays. You go in the paint to Al, and then he makes, Al Horford makes a decision to kick out to somebody for a three. And there are times that that happens when there's nobody between him and the basket.

And you know, that's what you need to get, but mathematically, you are going to need some of those shots to fall at some point. And I can't, I don't think Miami did a great job running the Celtics off the three-point line early. I thought some of those were good. Marcus Smart had great looks in the first quarter. Some of those were really good looks, but, and you can survive long stretches, Amy, in game six.

Miami made seven more threes and committed seven fewer turnovers. That should have been enough in the series. That you can't win a game with numbers like that mathematically, and yet the Celtics somehow did. It's just that you can't keep pushing your luck.

You can't do it over and over and over again. What if Miami wins the first play-in game and this had been the first round series? What would have happened then? You know, I mean, could the Celtics have lost if the exact same series happened? Can you imagine if the Celtics and Bruins had both lost in the first round?

Which is possible. And I know Heat fans were kind of playing the disrespect card. Well, respect the regular season.

Miami would redefine mediocre in the regular season. They are the first team maybe. Everyone's talked about Austin attempting to become the first team ever to come from 3-0 down because 150 teams before them hadn't. 629 teams have been outscored in an 82-game season.

629. None had made the conference finals, let alone the finals, and that's what Miami just did. They got outscored for 82 games and they were two and a half minutes away from losing in the play-in. And here they are going flying to Denver.

They always do it the hard way. We'll talk about the Heat coming up, but I gotta ask about Jalen Brown. My goodness, what happened to him tonight? Every game seven has its, you know, its hero and its legends, right?

And everyone is going to have its goat in the way that you and I refer to goats and not how the kids have repurposed goat to mean something else. But, you know, it was just Jalen. Just that nightmare game. You know, somebody's going to have a nightmare in game seven and this was Jalen's turn. The basketball gods, whatever it was. But it was a really rough night and he was a second team All-NBA player. Second team All-NBA player out of the hundreds of players in the league. He was one of the 10 players that can say that.

And he was first or second team. And yet he missed shots and the turnovers were just, they were killers. And they come from a place of the Celtics didn't play. Their effort wasn't the problem tonight. They just played poorly.

And sometimes you can try too much and Jalen just determined to drive and expose him the ball. And it just, they were flashbacks to Golden State to the finals a year ago. And here's the biggest irony of volume is that this year in Boston was about redemption for another team celebrating in their building. They were driven by the Golden State celebration of the championship. And the irony is one year to the day, it was Miami who listened to the Celtics celebrate across the hall last year and vowed to get back to that spot. And a year later win game seven on the road. And how about five out of seven games in both this year and last year won by the road team. Goodness.

Certainly speaks to a different type of tenacity. The Celtics seemed to have more of that when they were in Miami. Sean Grandy is joining us from Boston.

He's the voice of the Celtics called game seven on the radio and is with us here after our CBS sports radio. So what will stand out about the formula that Miami has used to reach another NBA finals? Well, the big picture, and this isn't Miami specific, but I think one of the concerns I would have going into the off season for the league is that in 25 years in the league, this was the one where the regular season meant the least with the Lakers run, with Miami getting to the finals. How does that tie into load management and the value of the regular season, which I think is in, you can't have that go into more jeopardy. The NHL is the NHL when the regular season is all about just getting in place for the tournament. And when Florida beats Boston in the first round, it's a little stunning, but it's not the most shocking thing in the world because hockey's like that. The NBA has never been like that and it makes the playoffs more exciting.

But I do think it cheapens the regular season a little bit. I think from a formula standpoint, what they've done consistently and why they're playing for a championship again is finding players that for whatever reason have been let go by other teams. And obviously, the steal of Jimmy Butler and how they pulled that off when it seemed impossible where they were with the roster and finding someone to take us on Whiteside and all that.

But Caleb Martin, who should have been the MVP of the Eastern Conference Finals, they didn't steal them from another team. He was discarded by other teams. Max Struce was the final cut in Celtics training camp. In 2019, Jovante Green got the last roster spot. Struce gets cut by the Celtics.

He goes to his hometown Bulls and they let him go also. And the ability of obviously a Hall of Fame coach and a group that finds places for players who all seem to have one thing in common, which is they will fight to the death to do the little things, to win games, to win on those margins and get extra possessions and force turnovers. And that to me, that's Miami Heat culture. And we can laugh. You can roll your eyes at that when people say it. Oh, Miami Heat culture hot. Yeah.

Well, who's laughing now? Because they're flying at Denver. Caleb Martin had what, 22 triples in this series. He finishes with his best game.

I'm with you. I thought he should have been the MVP because he kept bailing out the Heat every single time the Celtics would inch closer or seemingly get their claws into the Heat to drag them backward. Caleb Martin would come up with another big shot and he goes four of six tonight.

But again, that's just indicative of what he did in this series. So why Jimmy Butler for MVP? I couldn't believe it. I stopped in the middle of my post game when we're trying to like wrap up the Celtic season just because I was just stunned by it.

I don't know why. You know, again, I don't think I'll be losing the Celtic fans or a lot of people will be losing a ton of sleep over it, but what's the point of having an MVP if you're going to give it to the guy who clearly was not the MVP of the series? And it comes down to, this is unfortunate, but the way it is, was Jason Tatum great in the conference finals? He wasn't great, but he was really, really good. He rebounded, you know, I think he ended up with better than 10 rebounds a game. He probably had close to six assists a game.

He was making plays, I think. Jason Tatum probably ended up as a plus player in a series in which the Celtics were outscored. If Philadelphia comes to Boston and wins game seven, they steal the series because the Celtics had dominated that series. Miami had outscored and outshot the Celtics coming into tonight through six games. And the Celtics were fortunate in several ways to be there. I mean, Miami didn't win the series tonight, I mean, they won it in game two, maybe game one, but obviously by winning game two, that's the one that to me, when you look back, that's the difference. Like, the Celtics were going to have a couple of bad games and so was Miami in the series, but yeah, I don't, you can say here and, you know, adjudicate, I'll say this about the Miami, they could care less who won the MVP on their team, but it was really, to me, the difference in the series.

There's a lot of ways to look at it, but the Caleb Martin, Jalen Brown, you want to call it a match or whatever you want to call it. I think Jimmy Butler and Jason Tatum were both really good and they were good, but they weren't great. Jimmy Butler tonight was exactly what, he gave you everything he could. He scored 28 points, but he took 28 shots and those numbers aren't enough that the Celtics couldn't have overcome.

It was always going to be who else could do it. And, you know, early in the series, they had big games from not just Caleb Martin, but Vincent was really good, especially early in the series, Duncan Robinson was good early in the series, and their role players outplayed the Celtic role players. And here's the great irony is that the Boston season, Amy fell short last year because they couldn't, they weren't deep enough offensively. And so Brad Stevens added Danilo Gallinari and Malcolm Brogdon to make the Celtics a favorite to win the championship. And when it came down to the end of the season with the final two games that you had to win in the Easter Conference Finals, you didn't have Brogdon and you didn't have Gallinari. There are people that would say that there was a coaching disadvantage for the Celtics in this series.

What's your reaction to that? I would start by saying this, if you follow the NBA closely, Eric Spoelstra, let's go back to 2011 when Miami struggled in the finals and it was the first year, right, of their big three with LeBron and how many championships are going to win. Let's go back in time and remember that they were trying to run Eric Spoelstra out of town.

He's too young, he's not ready. All the stuff they said about Joe Missoula this year, they said about Eric that year, that year, and that was his third year as a head coach. Joe Missoula was not only in his first year as head coach, the reality of what happened and how it happened. And the Celtics ownership liked to call it a battlefield promotion for Joe Missoula who finds out he didn't get to go through staff, he didn't plan the summer out, he didn't get 72 hours for a training camp.

Guess what, you're the head coach with a team that had been to the finals. And I think it's more of the remarkable job he did throughout the course of the season learning on the fly. Was there a coaching disadvantage? I mean, for this, was Joe Missoula a better coach toward the end than he was?

It's learning on the fly. I don't think you could ask for any more from anybody thrown into the spot that Joe Missoula was thrown into than what he did. That said, of course it was by definition a huge disadvantage when you have a Hall of Fame coach who's had his entire group together and who has been down.

How many playoff games had ever exposed for coach going into the series when Joe Missoula was brand new? I don't think that's the reason we're sitting here talking about Miami going to the finals. I don't think the difference in coaching to whatever it's worth is why Miami was a bad three-point shooting team during the year. The Celtics were not only a high volume three-point shooting team, they were elite at it, at their spacing, in their offense and creating shots and in the series they were calamitous shooting threes and Miami out of nowhere was unbelievably good and in this NBA now you can't make up that kind of margin difference when the Celtics suddenly go from a 40 percent three-point shooting team to a 30 and Miami goes the other way.

You can't make it up. All year long the Heat were one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA by multiple metrics and yet look where they are now into the NBA Finals. It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio. Shawn Grandy from Boston after calling game seven on the Celtics radio network. I can't believe the Celtics only managed 84 points in their own building in a game seven.

That is actually pretty stunning. Well as I said I've seen it before because it happened in 2005, it happened in 2009. They had a very low score. It was a different game five years ago but they lost in Jason Tatum's rookie year. They lost game seven at home to Cleveland in that game when LeBron went off 48. So how does the game change if Tatum doesn't get hurt on the first play of the game? You can't sit here and say that's a 20-point difference. That's the same way Bucs fans can't say well if they had Chris Middleton last year when the Celtics won all four games in that series that they won easily. So was Middleton going to make a difference?

But what you would have hoped for, I mean you'd rather see even a Miami fan say we'd rather beat the Celtics if Jason Tatum was completely healthy for 48 minutes and had a great game. But how the injured Tatum led to how much that led to the Celtics' offense being inefficient? And who knows? And does the crowd get involved? Because you look at the margin and it was 20 at the end. If the Celtics are down one instead of 11 at halftime because Tatum is healthier and the ball's moving, is the crowd different?

Is the environment different? We'll never get a chance to know. The one thing at least you're not sitting here saying man this Heat stole the Heat with a better team over seven games and the Celtics had dug themselves hole after hole after hole and finally found one that it seemed like they were going to get out of that nobody ever had before.

And you know maybe you should know better when you tempt fate like that. So big picture not just based on this series because they are in the Eastern Conference Finals again. What questions do they have this offseason? Well as I said, Jalen Brown and Grant Williams are at the top of the list.

That's the first two things you have to address. I think Joe Missoula comes back as the head coach and you get a full not only a full year for all his inexperience, you can't cram more experience for better or worse into an eight month period than give him a chance to soak all that in and approach his second year. And then I think there are some Celtic staff questions. A lot of people point to, this is conspiracy theorists, but the Celtics had a really good start in the first round. They won the first two games in the playoffs and after that they were never really the same again.

That was the same time. A real big story for Boston this year is how the coaching staff stayed together when there were a lot of guys that could have been promoted to head coach. Ben Sullivan, certainly Damon Stoudemire, and yet they all stayed together. After game two of the Atlanta series, Emay Adoka got the Houston job and it seems probable that maybe multiple members of the staff that Emay brought to Boston could go to Houston and I think that's going to give the Celtics a chance. By the way, losing Damon Stoudemire, that was a blow too. You lost the veteran voice on the coaching staff and as young and impressive as the selfish coaching staff is, it didn't have that veteran guy after you lost Damon Stoudemire and that hurt too.

But a full year to figure out what kind of staff, if Joe Mizzou is the head coach of the Celtics, what should the staff look like around him? That's a big thing that the Celtics actually do get to address. But contractually, other than figuring out the long term with Jalen and then the Grant Williams thing, there isn't as much upending stuff here as other teams are sort of facing. Their best player and a top five player in the league is 25 years old and there's that too. So Jalen Brown and Jason Tatum don't get excuses for inexperience in the playoffs because they've been here year after year after year. But athletically, NBA wise, in terms of their prime, they're just getting there. When Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen started together, Amy, they were 30, 31, and 32 when they started the new big three era.

Jalen is 26 and Jason's 25. Don't count out what Gallinari would have been this year too. And in theory, you'll have a healthy Gallinari next year too added to this group. Health is always a question with Brogdon and it really killed the Celtics not having him healthy in the last couple of rounds of the playoffs. But you hope for full health and the Celtics will start as one of the teams in the conversation at the start of the year.

So I was asking my son tonight, would you rather be a middle of the pack team and be happy to make the playoffs or would you rather be a top five team every year but not win? Because it comes with a certain sort of pain combined with the expectations you have here in Boston from the last from the last 20 years. But the Celtics now for seven years in a row, and you have that weird pandemic here in 2021, but for certainly six of the last seven, they were a legitimate top five, top three, top two team. But a lot of people in Boston will say, hey, it's not top one.

So it doesn't matter. But you need to be in the conversation. And I guess the reason I bring that up is that it's very, well, there are changes too, but you got to make changes, especially when the Celtics were in trouble earlier in the series. And people want to make dramatic changes. Well, when you're the, say the third best team in the league, yeah, you want to be number one, but there's 27 behind you. And that's a lot of, it's a lot, very easy to fall if you make a mistake, trying to make changes when there's 27 teams behind you trying to get where you are. And you think about the Sacramento's of the world and the Minnesota's of the world who would kill to get to a conference.

Right. And the Celtics have been there five times in seven years and it's not, there's no championship, there's no banner to raise for that. And you know, after Buffalo bills, right?

You have to put yourself in the conversation and that's the hardest thing to do. And the Celtics have been there and there's no reason, no logical reason to believe that they aren't one of the teams that will be in the conversation on opening night. Denver Nuggets are into their first ever NBA finals.

So that fan base knows how it feels. Just before I let you go, Sean, how do you think Miami and Denver match up? I'm really more interested in what LeBron is up to. Can we talk more about LeBron? I think that there are some people pushing back in Denver and I get it like, Hey, what we want, you know, we were the ABA file.

Like, okay, on the one hand, the resume isn't much. So you can understand why people haven't really bought in yet, but the world is about to find out not only how good the Nuggets are, but the world is about to see on the world stage, on the big stage, on the number one platform with the bright lights that the best player in the world plays for the Denver Nuggets. And he's at the height of his power. Listen, everybody just under rates Miami and they'll count them out again, but I'm going to start, I'm going to start it by suggesting what I suggested at the end of our game tonight is I'm not convinced that Miami just didn't win their last game of the year tonight. That's how good I think Denver is. And it's just been a bad, that's been a brutal matchup. It's been, it's been three years, I think since he's beaten Denver in a game.

I'm really happy that Nicole Yochich is going to get that stage. And by the way, Jamal Murray is killing it right now. They're the best one new combination in the league in years. It's going to be great for the NBA and for the city of Denver and for all of it, for him to be center stage because he deserves it. We will see what happens next, but that series starts on Thursday. Celtics have work to do. We'll see.

I hope there are no knee jerk reactions though. You can find Sean on Twitter at Sean Grandy PBP. He does TV. He does radio. He's the voice of the Boston Celtics and one of our faves here on the show. Thanks so much for a couple of minutes, despite your poor sobbing son.

Yeah, at least he's, he's finally asleep. So I was right with the sun will come up tomorrow and it'll be all about next year. The finals are here and the biggest assist is happening off the court. Bet QL has the best sportsbook deals, bonus offers, and exclusive access to risk-free bets.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-30 08:50:59 / 2023-05-30 09:00:57 / 10

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