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Why the Celtics can still win without Kyrie Irving

Celtics 19 year old rookie now holds the franchise record for 3pts made with 102 and counting — by Harold Stokes
Celtics 19 year old rookie now holds the franchise record for 3pts made with 102 and counting — by Harold Stokes

Gordon Hayward was injured hardly five minutes into the NBA season. After a bad landing that dislocated his ankle and broke his tibia Gordon Hayward, the Celtic's fourth of July All-Star signing season was over. Celtics fans everywhere were disheartened at the news that Kyrie Irving also will now not be returning for the remainder of the season, but is all lost?

No, not even close. Most Celtics fans will tell you this season was never about a title run, especially after losing Gordon Hayward game one, this season was about adjusting the new team until they gel together. Aside from maybe his own mother and Danny Ainge no one expected the performance the Celtic's have gotten out of 19 year old Jayson Tatum. With shooting splits close to 48%, 43% and 83% his shooting has been a great surprise to most fans, not to mention his seemingly drastically improved defense from college to the league.

Jayson Tatum was thrown to the fire after Hayward's gruesome injury, and he has thrived, so has his second year teammate and fellow number three overall pick Jaylen “Juice” Brown. Juice has been a stout defender helping the Celtics to the #1 Team defense in points allowed, opponent 3pt %, and defensive rating, as well as #2 in opponent total field goal %.

Five-time All-Star and DPOY Candidate Al Horford — by Harold Stokes
Five-time All-Star and DPOY Candidate Al Horford — by Harold Stokes

Now Kyrie has never once been mistaken for an All NBA defender, the the leader of this team and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Al Horford has been, his veteran leadership has helped shape this team into a premiere defensive squad and will be the reason the Celtics thrive in the playoffs.

Marcus Smart is expected to return from his hand injury sometime during the playoffs, and Shane Larkin should be healthy from his illness in the next few days. So the Celtics will be back to “full strength”. Just minus two All-Stars and rookie Daniel Theis. Had to at least give the league a fair shot right?

Now I am not saying the Celtics will win the title, I am not even saying they will win the East. I am saying this Celtics team will do what it has done all season, fight. Overcome adversity, overcome all the obstacles this flat earth throws at them. They will fight, crawl and impose their will on every opponent they face and when the final buzzer sounds they will collect their things and be back the next night for the next fight. This scrappy Celtics team will not go quietly.

“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light”

-Dylan Thomas