4 Reasons the Boston Celtics Can Win the East w/o Kyrie Irving

The Boston Celtics have played incredibly without Kyrie Irving, but can they reach the Finals without their superstar.

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We still do not know when Kyrie Irving will return to the Boston Celtics lineup.

The original timetable was 3-6 weeks, but there’s been nothing definite. Boston misses its superstar more than anything, but other players have stepped up to fill the void. Here are four reasons the Celtics could win the East without their best player.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum

We really just can’t get enough of Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving, and we’re still just unwrapping the paper. These two dudes can be so good, and they both are coming into their own as the regular season winds down.

Since Kyrie Irving went down, Tatum has been the bonafide No. 1 option on offense, and boy is he making stuff happen.

Tatum has taken the load off of other players to show he can be a star in this league. He can score on anybody and has every move in the arsenal. As these moves get stronger, Boston could have itself an eventual MVP-candidate.

With everything Tatum can do, it sometimes gets lost that Brown can be every bit as good in his own way. That game-winner against Utah was straight-up cold-blooded. He has monumental upside on both sides of the ball and a body built by the Gods.

Here he blocks a seven-footer and then makes DeMar DeRozan look like a pre-pubecent seventh-grader. He’s too strong and too good, and he can help the Celtics advance in the playoffs.

Brad Stevens

More and more have started pushing Stevens as the NBA Coach of the Year, and for the right reasons. Stevens is the best ATO coach in the game and seemingly gets more out of his players than anyone.

Throughout this rash of injuries, Stevens has been the mainstay that has kept the Celtics afloat. No matter who the Celtics have on the court, Stevens will make sure they are playing the right way.

Before his Toronto Raptors became the shorthanded Celtics’ latest victim, fellow Coach of the Year candidate, Dwane Casey, repelled the idea that Boston was a lesser team because of who was sidelined. He knew his individual matchup with Stevens that night was just as important.

The Celtics will always have a chance when that man is on the sideline.

Defense

This isn’t just about the numbers. The Celtics have had a top-five defense the entire season. This is about the way they play defense.

The Celtics play hard, they rarely get into foul trouble, and they force turnovers very well. Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier would be in the conversation for the most athletic backcourt in the league, and they make opposing guards work.

Aron Baynes has held up against every Goliath he defends, and Jayson Tatum has found a knack for blocking shots everywhere. Throw in the hopeful return of Marcus Smart, and they have the defense to advance deeper than last season.

Terry Rozier

Is it a crime to say that Terry Rozier might be just as entertaining to watch as Kyrie Irving? Bear with me and watch this.

Now who does that remind you of?

I really don’t want to be that guy, but Rozier is looking like he needs to be starting somewhere in this league. I’m not saying he’s better than Irving, but he’s making us miss him less without a doubt.

Scary Terry is a damned good basketball player.

So good, he can lead these Celtics to the NBA Finals. As much as I want Kyrie back ASAP, this can happen without him if it needs to.