Celtics coach Brad Stevens coaches during Game 6 Thursday.</a></p>
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MIKE PETRAGLIA

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Was Thursday Evan Turner’s swan song in Boston?

Kevin Durant would be just what doctor ordered for Celtics. (Mark D.</p>
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“There’s a minimum level of ability that goes into making this thing successful anyway,” Brad Stevens told me on a podcast in the weeks after accepting the he




Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Apr 28, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (center) shoots the ball against Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha (left) and forward Paul Millsap (right) during the first half in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics forward Jae Crowder (center) was overmatched all series by the Atlanta bigs. (Mark L. Baer-USA Today Sports)

For the first 66 games of the season, Jae Crowder was the second-most important player on the Celtics. 

Then he turned his right ankle against the Rockets on March 11 and wasn’t the same the rest of the way, playing with an ankle he said was really never better than 70 percent. 

Crowder could never consistently get his shot to fall when Thomas was double and triple-teamed and his ankle prevented him from driving and cutting to the basket the way he did when he was healthy. He missed his first six shots and was 2-for-9 at the half. He finished 5-for-15 for 15 points in the season-ending 104-92 loss to the Hawks Thursday in Game 6. 

“Yeah, it was a very tough stretch for me,” Crowder said. “But, I’m not here to make any excuses about that, it was just tough, it was a tough series for me but my teammates never stopped believing in me. I just tried to get through it…. I gave it my best, so I can sleep good knowing that I gave it my all.”

In the series, he wasn’t the same forward who was a legitimate threat when Thomas was drawing attention early in the season. And he could never get comfortable against the Atlanta front court of Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Al Horford.  

“It will drive me to work harder for sure,” Crowder said. “It will drive me to be a different player than I am today, so we use it as motivation to move on.

“Like I just told Isaiah, we just got to keep chipping at it, keep getting better, of course its only going to be one team to have a successful year and that’s when you hold that trophy up. So, until we do that, its not a successful season. We are going to keep building, keep working, that’s all I got to say about it.”

As for the futures of Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger and breaking up some of the chemistry on the team, Crowder will leave personnel decisions to Danny Ainge. 

“That’s what sucks about it, but like Isaiah said its apart of the business, but we did build a bond with each and every guy in the locker room and it was fun,” Crowder said. “We just tried to have fun each and every night. We have a locker room that’s bonded like the way we do and have fun you never want to see it end, and it was tough to see it end.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Sam Packard break down how the ice-cold shooting of the Celtics combined with Atlanta’s defense on Isaiah Thomas powered the Hawks to a 104-92 win over Boston in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Thursday at TD Garden, ending Boston’s season in the first round for the second straight season.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

After spending 20 minutes with a towel draped over his head in front of his locker and after emptying his tank for six games, Isaiah Thomas had to get up the energy to walk to the postgame podium. 

He did so with red eyes, the product of emotion and tears following a 104-92 loss to the Hawks in Game 6 that suddenly ended his breakout season and began an offseason of questions. 

Apr 28, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) reacts against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was dejected following a Game 6 loss to the Hawks. . (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

After spending 20 minutes with a towel draped over his head in front of his locker and after emptying his tank for six games, Isaiah Thomas had to get up the energy to walk to the postgame podium. 

He did so with red eyes, the product of emotion and tears following a 104-92 loss to the Hawks in Game 6 that suddenly ended his breakout season and began an offseason of questions. 

“It was 2-2, we went down their and they made an adjustment to try and do whatever they can to stop me and guys continued to play through it and that’s what I love about this group,” said Thomas, who had a team-leading 25 points on 9-of-24 shooting. “Guys continued to shoot their shot with confidence, it’s just we couldn’t make enough plays. They made more plays than us. There was game where they went on that third quarter run, like its tough to get back into the game especially against a good team. So, we’ve got to just learn from these battles, knowing that nobody said it was going to be easy, its tough to win a series and we know that. It was tough to even win two games. This should hurt everybody and we will come back next year even stronger.”

But for the second straight game, Boston had no answers when they threw two and three bodies at Thomas, in an effort to force others to pick up the slack. 

But this time, unlike after Game 5, Thomas was calling out his teammates. He was praising them. 

“Yes, its very emotional for me, just because we gave it our all,” Thomas said.”  We never put our head down, like I said this group of guys is something special. I mean I played, I gave it my all so that’s why it hurts that much more. I wish I could have done more, but it just happened to be like that. So, it is tough on me though.”

Thomas is hopeful this isn’t the last go-round with a group that won 48 games and came within a whisker of the No. 3 seed in the East. 

“That’s just the business of the NBA. One thing I do know, I ride with these guys to the wheels fall off, I mean this was a special group,” Thomas said. “Hopefully we can all stick together and have something special inthe future but, I love those guys in the locker room and hopefully we can keep this together.”

Thomas hopes the loud crowd and the way the core group played makes Boston a destination for free agents on the market.  

“I mean our fans are amazing, this city is a sports town,” Thomas said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, when you do get to experience what Boston Celtics basketball is about, it’s like no other organization. So, I mean as long as we keep getting better, hopefully guys will choose Boston as a city they want to play in.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The proverbial rotund female started her song early. With the way the Celtics were playing, she had no other choice. 

After a lackluster Game 5 effort, the C’s found themselves on the brink of elimination. And with their backs against the wall, they shot an abysmal 36.2 percent from the field and were soundly defeated 104-92 by the Hawks.