After a busy summer, everything was primed in Boston for the Celtics to really issue a strong challenge to become the best team in the Eastern Conference to show that their number one seed finish from last season wasn't just a one-off.
During the offseason, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge made some incredible moves to demonstrate that the team is ready to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot in the conference.
Although they said goodbye to Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley, they did trade for Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris, and pick up Gordon Hayward through free agency. They've arguably improved despite losing their key players from last season.
However, during the opening game of the season against the Cavaliers, everything changed, as Hayward dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia on his left leg when he landed hard after going up for an inaccurate ally-oop pass, meaning he would likely be out for the season.
While Hayward's season is likely over, the Celtics season has changed, and head coach Brad Stevens now has to rely on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to pick up the pieces not only show the team can still compete this season but in the future as well as both players are still very young.
That show has already begun despite the 2017-18 season only being four games old, as, during Boston's game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night, both Tatum and Brown shined brightly.
Jaylen celebrated his 21st birthday by playing one of the best games of his young career, helping the Celtics beat the Knicks 110-89. The 2016 first-round pick scored 23 points with four rebounds, while the 2017 first-round pick, who is only 19-years-old, scored 22 points with four rebounds and two assists.
Brown and Tatum became the first Celtics pair at age 21 or younger to score 20 or more points in the same game, which shows just how much of a promising future this franchise has with these two very young stars.
Both players have already recognized that this is could be the start of something great for them at the Celtics, but they know they must also stay grounded. Tatum said after Tuesday's game: "We're gonna keep getting better and more comfortable with each other as time goes on."
Irving is enjoying watching the two players as well as playing alongside them, as he said according to ESPN: "It's hard to put a cap on some of the talent that those guys have. I didn't really have too many expectations, I just wanted them to just go out and prove to themselves that they can go out and make an impact on this team and gain experience, beyond their years.
"Obviously [Hayward] going down, the expectations for our team as a collective were really high, but I think, individually, [Tatum and Brown] had their own expectations, which I can appreciate. They're going to be their own worst critic, but I'm their biggest fan over here."
Questions were asked during the summer if Brown and Tatum would be able to handle the pressure at the Celtics prior to the arrival of Hayward, but now Hayward is out for likely the season, those questions have been raised again.
For now, it appears the youngers can be relied upon to get results to keep them in the race at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Both players are going to be a problem for opposing teams this season on both ends of the court, which is exactly what Boston needs right now.News Now - Sport News