No. No they won’t.
When the Celtics Express comes rolling down the tracks, you’d better get out of the way or you’re getting steamrolled, plain and simple. Yes, this season was always going to be bittersweet when Gordon Hayward went down, but after seeing what the rest of the East looks like after ten games, there’s really no reason to think they can’t do what they set out to do in the preseason and make the Finals.
Obviously, they’ve had horrible, horrible luck with injuries. Hayward is out for the year. Al Horford got a concussion and they’ll hopefully be very cautious with him. This isn’t 1990, it’s okay if he sits out some November games. Marcus (Markieff? I honestly have no idea which one they have) Morris is just now getting back after starting the year hurt. Jayson Tatum needs an MRI on his ankle. But outside the injury bug, absolutely everything has been coming up Celtics (and particularly my boy Danny Ainge). Tatum has been a revelation as a secondary scorer and ballhandler who looks like someone who’s going to be averaging over 20 points per game sooner rather than later (while Markelle Fultz looks absolutely lost and injured). Jaylen Brown has morphed into a combination of Andre Iguodala and DeMar DeRozan overnight, at least at home. I was never a “Jaylen sucks!” guy and thought that anyone claiming a 19-year-old rookie who hadn’t found his place in the rotation was somehow a bust was a complete idiot, but I definitely wasn’t expecting such a big leap forward. He just looks so much more confident than last year. And for a guy with his natural talent, that could make all the difference. Aron Baynes-Semi Ojeleye might be my favorite Celtics duo since Gerald Green and Justin Reed (R.I.P.), and my 1-2 picks in a “who do I want to have my back in a scrape” draft. Kyrie Irving has been as advertised and more. His shot is still warming up, but, freed from the oppressive shackles of LeBron, his ball movement and, most surprisingly, his defense have been way better than they ever have before. He’s actually trying on defense, now! It’s incredible. Maybe he’s just trying to make a good first impression, but if Brad Stevens can get a full 82 of Defensive-Minded Kyrie, he should get Coach of the Millennium. Or Tyronn Lue and LeBron should just get the Anti-Coach of the Year award. Either way, I’m officially throwing out all of my old Anti-Kyrie takes. I’m sure it’s a load off his mind. Lastly, Al Horford has just been jamming on h8trz all year long and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve always been #teamal. I loved the signing when it happened and understood what his game was coming in. The Boston media was quick to turn on him for “not rebounding,” but, in my opinion, anyone who doesn’t get why Al is the most important player on the Celtics you’re either just not watching or don’t know what you’re talking about. His passing is the cornerstone of the offense. He’s the anchor of the best defense in the league. According to Basketball Reference, seven of the top fourteen players in defensive rating are on the Celtics, and Al controls all of it. He’s an underrated post scorer and a dynamite pick-and-pop guy. I love Al and can’t wait until he makes an All-NBA team this year and forces everyone to eat their words. Just imagine how good they’d be with Gordon! Aaaaaaaaand now I’m depressed again.