Not so fast
Or so we thought. Kyrie Irving and company rallied off 16 straight wins after starting out the season 0-2.
Was this the year after all?
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Even without Hayward, the team was gelling. Jayson Tatum stepped in and played great right away.
Jaylen Brown looked nothing like the stand-in-the-corner-every-once-in-a-while-touch-the-ball player he was just a year ago. Al Horford, like always, was the perfect compliment to the other great players around him.
By the time the All-Star break rolled around, the Celtics were 40-19, first in the East. Boston was putting the league on notice. Brad Stevens was the unanimous Coach of the Year. What he was doing without Gordon Hayward was incredible. What turned out to be the perfect mix of young and old was taking the NBA by storm.
Then, for the second time, the Celtics playoff chances looked dead in the water. Kyrie Irving missed a few games with a knee injury. A few games turned into a few weeks, and still no Kyrie. Then, before we knew it, Kyrie was ruled out for the playoffs.
Along with Hayward, and Marcus Smart who had been sidelined since February, the Boston Celtics were now without three valuable pieces in the system.
They ended the season 9-6 without Irving. 2nd in the East at 55-27, still a couple wins better than last season. Considering all the setbacks and catastrophes that 2018 brought, it was a great season. It was a season to be proud of, one to build of off, but the playoffs were a different story. You don’t win with no star and mostly young guys.