The Boston Celtics deserve plenty of credit for owning the best record in the Eastern Conference, given how much they’ve been hit with the injury bug. It all started when Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome leg fracture in the season opener, that’ll force him to miss the season.
Superstar Kyrie Irving has also been playing with a face mask after fracturing a bone in his face. As if that wasn’t bad enough, check out this brutal finger injury that rookie Jayson Tatum suffered on Wednesday:
Tatum's finger 🙄 pic.twitter.com/Uit2xEFR2G
— Matt (@McCefali) December 21, 2017
But being tough as nails and all, Tatum had his right pinky taped up, and was able to return. The third-overall pick of the 2017 Draft finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and two assists on the evening. But the Celtics lost 90-89 to the Miami Heat, as Irving missed a game-winning shot at the buzzer.
The Celtics sit at 26-8, 2.5 games up on the Toronto Raptors for the top seed in the East. At this point, head coach Brad Stevens should be considered a favorite to win Coach of the Year, given all he’s done despite injuries to key players.
Irving—who requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer—has proven his ability to carry a franchise without LeBron James leading the way. Reports suggested Irving wanted to be traded to a team where he could be a “focal point” of the offense.
Boston has used a great system where all five players on the floor can shoot well from the outside, with a strong emphasis on defense as well. Irving, Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford have all flourished under Steven’s system, which is remarkable after losing a world-class star in Hayward.
Here’s hoping the Celtics can avoid any more gruesome injuries. Having two of them this early in the season is more than enough.
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