It’s been a month since Gordon Hayward’s gruesome injury took place just five minutes into the season on opening night in Cleveland. When we saw the Celtics’ new All-Star acquisition with his head in his hands in disbelief at the sight of his mangled foot, there probably isn’t a soul on this planet who thought the C’s would eventually rip off 13 straight wins after starting 0-2.
But here we are. 13-2 and preparing for Boston’s most anticipated regular season game in recent memory.
The two best teams in the NBA meet Thursday night at the Garden as the Golden State Warriors put their own winning streak (7 games) on the line against the red-hot C’s. We may only be a month in, but the Celtics certainly have the Warriors attention with the way they’ve come out firing on all cylinders.
Head Coach Steve Kerr had this to say:
“It sure looks like Boston is the team of the future in the East, with the assets that they still have and their young talent and their coaching, and Kyrie [Irving] is amazing,” Kerr said after practice Tuesday. “That looks like a team that is going to be at the top of the East for a long time to come. Whether their time is now or the future, that’s to be determined, but they sure look like they want it to be right now.”
Kevin Durant had some praise for Brad Stevens, comparing his coaching style to Kerr’s:
“I don’t know Brad (Stevens) as well,” said Durant, who met with the Celtics as a free agent two summers ago. “But just from an Xs and Os standpoint, everybody’s touching the ball, everybody’s moving, everybody’s feeling good about themselves. This is a feel-good game, and as a player, you want your coaches to trust you and put you in positions where you can be most successful. Every player is different. So Brad Stevens is doing a great job of putting every player on his team in good position to do what they do best. And that’s what Coach (Steve) Kerr does for our team.”
Now the question becomes whether or not the Celtics are ready to compete with the NBA’s elite. Most would say they’re not there yet, and a win on Thursday doesn’t necessarily mean they are. But it does mean that this young, exciting team isn’t afraid of the spotlight. All eyes will be on the Garden for this one. Tip-off at 8 pm.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour