By Justin McKinney, Sports Editor
After Gordon Hayward went down for the season less than a quarter in the 2017 campaign for the Celtics it seemed that all hope was lost and the Celts were destined to another year of an Eastern Conference finals push with nothing to show but a loss to the Cavs. Given their second game went just as poorly against the Bucks, the nails looked to be in the coffin.
However, being wrong has never felt so good as the Celtics have put on a clinic in these last eight games posting an eight and zero mark to start the season 8-2 atop the NBA standings. Not only that but this eight game run has not been watered down by wins against poor teams. In these eight games the Celts have managed to beat the Spurs, Thunder, Bucks, Magic, and Thunder. All these teams are early contenders for this year’s NBA title.
While Kyrie Irving looked a bit off in his first two games in green it seems he has found his comfort zone over this stretch. Irving is shooting an impressive 45 percent from the field an even more astonishing 36 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 22 points per game. Irving’s defense has also been astonishing as he is averaging 2.5 steals per game as well.
While Isiah Thomas was a great point guard for the Celtics in his tenure, given his bum hip this season and the fact that Thomas’s 5’9”stature made him a defensive liability it is very obvious early on who is reaping the benefits of the Cavs-Celts offseason trade.
Young guns Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown have also began showing the Celtics organization just how dangerous they can be in years to come as Brown is averaging 15 points a game and Tatum 14. The duo has looked amazing together on the court and both seem to be gelling very well with the team as a whole.
It is obviously extremely early in the year so there is no way of knowing what will transpire throughout this year, as we have already seen with Hayward in game one; championship hopes can be dashed in an instant. However, this team has looked phenomenal early, while the NBA has become a league obsessed with start power and super teams, this Celtics team looks like breath of fresh air.
While they have their superstars in Irving and Al Horford as well as budding stars in Tatum and Brown, their brand of basketball is very team oriented and doesn’t rely on one player to carry the load as is often seen in Cleveland with LeBron James.
The Celtics have five players averaging over ten points a game, showing just how well they share the ball.
If this team can continue what they have been doing I would not be shocked to see them in the NBA finals and perhaps even Champions.
I realize the Warriors are extremely dangerous, however this Celtics team has the talent and the grit to compete with them, it certainly won’t be easy but it can be done!
Note: The Celtics have improved to 9-2 since the writing of this article.