Heading into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics were a perfect 10-0 at home in this season's playoffs and had the luxury of playing in front of their fans for a chance to make the Finals.
But the Celtics failed to secure a home win when they needed it most as they were beaten by the Cleveland Cavaliers and eliminated at the same stage for the second straight year.
Nonetheless, making it as far as they did without All-Star duo Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward was an impressive achievement with a largely young and inexperienced roster.
They may have suffered disappointment on this occasion but the future is extremely bright in Boston and there's no doubt that they'll be back competing for championships in the years to come.
The C's have an exciting and talented young core including rookie Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown, who all blossomed in the playoffs and were not fazed by the moment.
But sometimes you must go through adversity before you achieve success and veteran Al Horford believes the tough loss to the Cavs will have a major impact on the careers of his young teammates.
“I think that this is going to help shape the rest of their careers. I truly believe that," Horford said, via Joshua Schrock of NESN.
"I think they will …I hope they are able to take away the intensity and the commitment to defending and doing those little things in order for us to be able to be successful.
"We did it for most of the year and in the playoffs, we took it to another level. But there’s a lot more challenges for this group — that we can grow — and I’m looking forward to it.”
With Irving and Hayward due back next season alongside Horford, Tatum, Brown and Rozier, the Celtics will arguably have the deepest and most talented roster in the NBA.
With one of the league's best coaches in Brad Stevens, they're destined for great things with this team.
They haven't reached the NBA Finals since 2010 but there's a sense in Boston that they'll end that drought sooner rather than later.
The Celts succumbed to LeBron James yet again but they will be primed to dominate the east eventually.
No player will want to achieve this more than Horford who was denied a first Finals appearance by LeBron and the Cavs for the fourth straight season.
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