Watch CBS News

Ainge: Celtics Underperformed In Series Vs. Cavaliers

BOSTON (CBS) -- Prior to the start of the first-round playoff series between Boston and Cleveland, there wasn't anyone in the country saying that the Celtics were a better team than the Cavaliers. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody outside of Mike Gorman who picked the C's to win the series.

Despite the scales being tipped in Cleveland's favor, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that he still felt like his team did not play its best against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

"I felt like we underperformed," Ainge said Thursday as a guest on Toucher & Rich. "I think we had some good moments, I think it was a great experience for our guys, they played hard. But ultimately we just made too many mistakes and we could never get over the hump. I thought we had a chance a few times to get into the game, and we just didn't make enough shots at certain times, and other times we lost our focus defensively."

Ainge said that Brad Stevens tried everything he could, creating new lineups on the fly, but nothing worked in breaking through.

Ainge was also asked for his opinion on the suspension to Kelly Olynyk. Ainge said that the league likely only issued a suspension because Kevin Love was injured on the play, not because it was a dirty play.

"I think that Kelly and Kevin were tangled up," Ainge explained. "Kevin initially tangled up with Kelly under the basket, and then as they went for the ball they sort of reversed positions, and Kelly hold a hold of Kevin's arm. And whenever there's an injury of that significance, and a guy is out of the game and out for the season, the league has to review it. I think if there's no injury on that play, it's not even reviewed. Most plays that demand a suspension are plays that are reviewed regardless of whether there's an injury or not.

"So I think it's questionable whether Kelly should have been suspended, but I think he was obviously suspended because of the injury that Kevin sustained."

Ainge stressed that Olynyk had no ill will when he made the play.

"No way is Kelly trying to take Kevin out of the game," Ainge said. "I know Kelly feels bad that Kevin won't be able to play for the rest of the playoffs, but that certainly wasn't his intention. His intention was to get to the loose ball."

Ainge also talked about the suspension to J.R. Smith, the state of college coaches in the NBA, as well as offseason plans for the Celtics. Listen below:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.