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C's Roll Through October

The Celtics enter the month of November with a 6-2 record, tied for the best record in the NBA with the Orlando Magic. This is the same Celtics team that was counted out by the majority of people once they lost their big free agent signing 5 minutes into the season and proceeded to fall to an 0-2 start. A key change that ignited this 6 game and counting win streak is the intensified defense. Celtics lead the league, only giving up 93.8 ppg (a cool 90 ppg during the streak). On top of that, Kyrie Irving leads the league in steals with 21 through 8 games. Defense hasn't been the only bright spot so far, let's take a look at a few more.

THE GOOD: Kyrie Irving
While Kyrie hasn't performed at his full potential to this point in the season, it's clear he is much more comfortable within this offense and it has shown on the court and in the box scores. He's averaging 21.8 pts  3.2 reb  5.6 ast  2.6 stl. Expect that to only get better throughout the season.

Brown and Tatum
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have certainly passed the eye test through the first 8 games. Brown has taken the next step in his progression offensively, averaging 16.2 pts  5.9 reb, while Tatum has filled in for Hayward better than many could have possibly hoped for. Tatum is in the early season running for Rookie of the Year, putting up 13.8 pts  6.6 reb per game.

Yes it's true, the Celtics have found players who can actually rebound on a consistent basis! C's average the 6th best rebounds per game at 47.1 and have the 2nd best rebounding differential at +6.1. Key contributors have been Horford, Tatum and Baynes as far as starters go. The bench has had some welcoming help from Theis and Rozier. With Marcus Morris coming back soon the rebounding help should continue to improve.

Rozier, Smart and Theis Off the Bench
Rozier (9.8 pts  5 reb), Smart (9.8 pts  4.3 reb  5 ast) and Theis (5.9 pts  5 reb) have provided excellent depth throughout the first few weeks of the season in all aspects of the game. Defense and rebounding have been huge from these three, while offensively they have been more consistent than anyone could have predicted. 

The Bad: Bench Depth 
While worrying about the bottom half of your bench is a great problem to have, it's still an issue that needs to be addressed. It's clear the young guys need some seasoning, as consistency has been an issue from game to game. Ojeleye and Yabusele have my vote on depth players who will progress nicely this year, it just might take a full year to develop consistency off the bench. Biggest disappointment so far off the bench, and most likely will be all season is Shane Larkin. He will keep getting opportunities to spell Irving, Smart and Rozier, but nothing I've seen so far tells me he will successfully do it.

The Ugly
The Cleveland Cavaliers 😏 (I'm sure this won't age well)

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