The Vermont Cynic

Celtics disturb the peace in the NBA

Greg Mandozzi, Staff Writer

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As the midway point in the NBA season approaches, I seem to be watching a story of two conferences.

The Golden State Warriors have taken care of business out on the west coast. With a 37-10 record, they are looking like the familiar high-flying team of the last few years.

The star-studded Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs are still chasing the defending champs in the West.

The Eastern Conference hasn’t quite gone according to plan. It seemed like a lock for another Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers rematch in the finals, with LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas all lining up for the Cavs.

Evidently, winning  isn’t that easy.

Currently, the Boston Celtics lead in the east with a 35-14 record, shattering expectations. The Celtics made a big splash in the offseason, getting all-star point guard Kyrie Irving from the Cavs in exchange for Boston hero Isaiah Thomas.

Former Utah Jazz star scorer Gordon Hayward also moved to Boston, creating some excitement for Celtics fans.

Despite these signings, it truly is shocking just how well the Celtics have played this season. They have overcome multiple obstacles: the trade to get Irving and the various signings made in the offseason meant a lot of change.

Change alone can derail a team as they figure out who they are, but that hasn’t been the case in Boston.

One problem the Celtics have had recently is scoring. Only Irving scored regularly.

Five minutes into his Celtics career Gordon Hayward, the likely second option to score,  went down with one of the most gruesome injuries in recent memory.

Just like that, the Celtics’ hopes were broken, along with Hayward’s leg. Despite this, Boston remains atop the Eastern Conference.

The question remains whether a strong defense is enough to win a championship. Boston is ranked No. 1 in defensive efficiency, while Cleveland is No. 29. With the trade deadline looming, it is possible teams can still improve.

Anthony Davis and DeAndre Jordan headline the potential tradeable talent.

One thing is clear, the Celtics look like they’re on the rise – youthful and rejuvenated.

The Cavaliers, meanwhile, are looking more like the 2011 All-Star team.

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Celtics disturb the peace in the NBA