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Warriors coach Steve Kerr is thoroughly impressed with the Celtics’ 13-game win streak and penciled them in as the team to beat in the East for years to come.
“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 told ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
“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.”
The Celtics returned just four players from last year’s squad that won the No. 1 seed in the East and made the Eastern Conference Finals, but this revamped squad has gelled instantly.
Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are working a clever two-man game, last year’s No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown has taken a significant leap in his sophomore season, and they’re getting great contributions from rookies like Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye, and Daniel Theis.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has also whipped together the league’s stingiest defense, which has allowed the Celtics to grind out results even when their offense isn’t firing on all cylinders.
And of course, they’re doing all this without their prime offseason signing, Gordon Hayward, who snapped his ankle five minutes into his Celtics debut. Boston only figures to improve after he returns.
“They’re really sound, and they’re motivated. It’s a team that’s been on the rise the last couple of years. They lost in the conference finals. They want to win a championship, and it looks like it,” Kerr said.
“Even without Gordon Hayward and that awful injury, Boston is just crushing people. So, it’s going to be really fun to go against them on Thursday. We know how tough it’s going to be.”