Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is so impressed with the Boston Celtics thus far that he might be prepping his team to face them in the NBA Finals this June.
Okay, fine. Probably not. Even he has to be feeling that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ struggles, on some level, will work themselves out. They’re still the most likely Eastern Conference representative in the Finals, if only because they have LeBron James and the other 14 possibilities don’t.
But Kerr most definitely has respect for what Boston is doing as the conference’s top dog now:
The Celtics' 13 straight wins have Steve Kerr looking to the future. pic.twitter.com/WBAP9Cyo6i
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 15, 2017
Thirteen straight wins has this effect on people. The Celtics sport the league’s best defense according to NBA.com, and while they’ve enjoyed a relatively easy schedule to date, they’re leaning on a vat of inexperience in the absence of Gordon Hayward. Not only are they starting two youngsters, in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but they’re tasked with building chemistry on the fly between their buffet of new contributors. That they’ve rattled off 13 victories and are on track to finish with the East’s best record for the second consecutive season when LeBron exists is nothing short of incredible—irrespective of whether you have them ticketed for postseason elimination at Cleveland’s hands.
The Celtics’ mystique will be but to the test soon enough, against Kerr’s Warriors this Thursday. No one will expect them to win. Kyrie Irving is playing with a mask as he recovers from facial fractures, and again, they tie so much of their performance to kiddies who aren’t necessarily used to playing on this stage, versus a team as utterly dominant as the Warriors.
Kerr’s point stands, though: The Celtics look primed to run the East for years to come—and their reign might even start before LeBron leaves.