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Who expected the Boston Celtics, a team that many thought would tank, to go into Miami and beat the Heat early in the season?
Probably not even the Celtics themselves.
Boston got off to a rough start, losing its first four contests, but the silver lining in all of that was that it was competitive in all four losses. The C's then reeled off four straight wins behind strong point guard play from Jordan Crawford. Yes. Jordan Crawford.
Of course, the Celtics then went on to lose three in a row, and that inconsistency is likely the sort of thing we can expect from this group throughout the year.
Looking up and down the roster, there is a considerable amount of talent there. Jeff Green is an emerging star at the 3, and young big men like Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk could be part of the long-term foundation for the Celtics. Plus, with Crawford now manning the point guard spot until Rajon Rondo returns, Avery Bradley has moved back to his more natural position at the 2.
Finally, Vitor Faverani looks like a potential steal.
So, does Boston have a shot at making the playoffs? Well, if Rondo comes back healthy (which is a big "if"), there actually is a possibility in the weak East, especially considering that the ballclubs that were expected to challenge for the final couple of playoff spots in the conference haven't been doing so well.
You can wish for the C's to tank for a better draft pick all you want, but nothing is more conducive to a young team than building a winning culture.
The Celtics probably won't win any more than 35-38 games this season, but that could be good enough for a postseason berth and some very valuable experience.