Celtics shine again in narrow win over Cavaliers
Some teams are making a name for themselves with some impressive statistics and results in the early stages of the season, and it seems that the Boston Celtics are determined to be part of the postseason conversation once again.
The idea that they would finish outside the top eight in the Eastern Conference was never really a question, but quite how far they could go was entirely a different proposition.
They stuttered and did not look as tight as they would have hoped at the tail end of last season, being dominated in the second round of the Eastern playoffs.
Now, with a revitalised squad and some players enjoying the improved team harmony, everything seems to be clicking for the Celtics.
They recorded a 119-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to extend their record to 5-1 this season, having dropped one away game against Philadelphia.
Gordon Hayward is playing like he is making up for lost time after a series of injuries hampered his inclusion in the team, but when he is able to add 39 points on nights like this, it shows that he is firmly back in the fold.
With Kemba Walker on 25, and Jayson Tatum on 18, they have a range of players able to go beyond the paint and shoot from the field, and this versatility appears to be giving them the edge.
Kevin Love showed signs of returning form for the Cavs, who had a desperate campaign last time around and will be looking to make amends.
They are 2-5 down this season, so any redemption will not be quick, but Love had 17 points.
His injury woes last season pushed his team over the edge and they finished with one of their worst records in franchise history.
They cannot do much worse in 2019/20, so being able to run the Celtics close enough and only lose by six points shows that they are indeed improving.
Collin Sexton top scored for them with 21, and four out of their starting five had at least 10 points, so there are plenty of positives for the Cavaliers and it may not be too long until they find their feet again.
For Boston, they know that they already have serious competition with the 76ers this year.
It promises to be an exciting winter period as we see which sides are ready to emerge as the dominant challengers for the Eastern crown.
Words: Noah Hart