BOSTON — The homestretch of this season is upon the Celtics (22-41) as they stare down what should be their final 19 games of the season.
But before we get too knee-deep in the upcoming NBA draft and free agency and trades and all the things that fans of losing teams look forward to, let's take a moment to embrace this season for what it truly was.
This season was about lessons learned.
For fans, there was a greater sense of appreciation for the success of the Big Three era now that it's over, and the promise that the Celtics' youngsters have shown throughout the course of this roller coaster of a season.
For rookie head coach Brad Stevens, it was getting a feel for the nuances of the NBA game while enduring more losses before Christmas than he had in any individual season at Butler.
And last but certainly not least, we have the players. They too have been in class all season, absorbing both the blows from opponents and the benefits that come with experience.
It has made for an entertaining season even if the win total wasn't nearly as high as this franchise has come to expect. And while it is impossible to look at this team and not think about the future, there's value in acknowledging where they are now.
With that, here are the third quarter grades for the Celtics.