Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum #0 and Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics react during the second half of a game in the play-in tournament against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden on May 18, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.

How does that expression go? Don’t say hello when it’s time to say goodbye. Or something like that.

So it is for the `20-21 Celtics, who pulled away from the Washington Wizards last night for a 118-100 victory that landed them in the playoffs against deep thinker Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets. Jayson Tatum scored 50 points. Kemba Walker had 29. More importantly, the Celtics showed some giveadamn during a season that has gone sideways from just about the very beginning.

“It takes a lot of effort,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “It takes a lot of togetherness, and it takes staying together through tougher times.”

Indeed it does.

But does one game change the reality of an entire season?

Sorry, but I’m still not buying. Ask me again in a week or two, maybe a month, more likely a year. Or even two. There is always the chance that we look back on this `20-21 Celtics season and chalk it all up to some very painful growing. But it is still impossible to celebrate anything now after a victory over a Washington Wizards team that went 34-38 over an abbreviated 72-game schedule, particularly when Washington’s best player, Bradley Beal, was hobbled.

Sorry, but it just hasn’t been that kind of year.

You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.