The Boston Celtics are headed into the offseason with plenty of questions and not a lot of clear answers coming off of a dismal Game 7 performance that saw them get blown out by the Miami Heat, 103-84.
After showing so much fight to claw their way back into the series from down 0-3, it was a disappointing effort from Boston, which was exacerbated by some factors outside of their control. Jayson Tatum suffered an ankle injury on the first possession of the game, and while he played through it, he was clearly limited in his mobility, particularly in the second half after having it stiffen up further during halftime. With Tatum hobbling, the pressure to create shifted to Jaylen Brown, who struggled mightily with an 8-of-23 shooting night with eight turnovers as he was unable to pick up the slack.
Brown wasn’t alone in struggling to make an impact, as everyone aside from a brief spurt from Derrick White struggled to get anything going offensively. As the game wore on, Joe Mazzulla’s rotation also raised eyebrows, as Robert Williams, who has been critical in the series turnaround with his work defensively and on the glass, played just 14 minutes. On Tuesday, we learned why the big man was limited in his minutes, as he was apparently dealing with a stomach bug that had him throwing up at times during the game, per Shams Charania.
“I’m told that Robert Williams was throwing up during (Game 7).”
— Stadium (@Stadium) May 30, 2023
That explains why Williams was a limited in Game 7 and further exacerbated the issues Boston was dealing with. The injury and illness problems were out of Boston’s control and are understandable factors in keeping them from playing their best. That said, it doesn’t excuse the performance in totality and the challenge for Brad Stevens and the Boston front office going forward is to figure out how much needs to change to try and reach the Finals again next season.