Celtics

Kevin Durant, Warriors clearly believe Celtics are "championship-caliber"

Kevin Durant, Warriors clearly believe Celtics are "championship-caliber"

BOSTON -- With due respect to Tristan Thompson, we're not getting another Golden State Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals matchup this year. So, who will take the mantle from Cleveland in the Eastern Conference?

Many liked the Boston Celtics' chances entering the season, but they've had an up-and-down season to date. The Warriors aren't fooled by Boston's scuffles, though.

After heaping praise on the Celtics ahead of Saturday night's Warriors-C's matchup at TD Garden, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr suggested Boston still is the team to beat in the East despite its No. 5 spot.

"They are one of the best teams in the league," Kerr said following the Warriors' 115-111 win when asked how close the Celtics are to the Dubs. "They're great defensively and they've got dynamic offensive players. They're already one of the best.

"It will be interesting to see this year with LeBron (James) out of the East who comes out of the East. We have a lot of work to do to get out of the West. A lot of great teams this year.

"I think the league is better this year than it's been in a long time. ... But Boston is clearly a great two-way team, and that's what it takes in the playoffs."

☘️WARRIORS 115, CELTICS 111

For all of their inconsistency, the Celtics still rank third in the NBA in point differential (plus-6.5) behind only Milwaukee and Golden State. Missed opportunities down the stretch cost them a win over the Warriors on Saturday night, but they still left an impression on the two-time defending champions.

"This team is a championship-caliber team," Warriors forward Kevin Durant said Saturday night of the Celtics.

Alas, not everyone in Golden State's locker room was willing to dub this game an NBA Finals preview.

"I'm not sure. I'm not a fortune teller," Klay Thompson said.

At the very least, the Celtics will have a chance for revenge on March 5 when the teams meet in Oakland.

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Celtics awaiting Gordon Hayward update; Enes Kanter (knee) set to return

Celtics awaiting Gordon Hayward update; Enes Kanter (knee) set to return

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics, much like Celtics Nation, are eagerly awaiting the results from Gordon Hayward’s left hand surgery

Brad Stevens, speaking prior to the Celtics game against the Dallas Mavericks, said that Hayward had underwent surgery beginning at 5 p.m. ET in New York and the team was preparing to provide an update following surgery.

While the timetable is yet to be determined for how long Hayward will be out, he’s likely to miss at least a month of action. 

And while the timing certainly isn’t great when you consider how both Hayward and the Celtics were playing, Stevens reiterated that this injury is dramatically different than the ankle injury Hayward suffered a couple years ago which sidelined him for all but the first five minutes of the 2017-2018 season. 

This injury isn’t that severe, even with the most conservative timelines having him back on the floor at some point this season. 

But the Celtics did get some good news on the health front with Enes Kanter (knee) available to play for the first time since the team’s season-opener at Philadelphia. 

Kanter’s return comes at a good time for Boston, which will look to throw a multitude of bodies at Dallas’ 7-foot-2 center Kristaps Porzingis, who comes into tonight’s game averaging 20.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and a career-high 2.6 blocked shots per game while shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range. 

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NBA Power Rankings roundup: Celtics finally earning respect after hot start?

NBA Power Rankings roundup: Celtics finally earning respect after hot start?

The Boston Celtics have the best record in the NBA at 7-1 entering Monday night's matchup against the Dallas Mavericks at TD Garden, but are the C's getting the respect they deserve from the national media?

Boston ranks 12th in points scored per game and fourth in points allowed per game, while earning quality wins over the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs.

The Celtics have been getting impactful contributions from several different players, which highlights their impressive depth. They have four players -- Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown -- averaging 18 or more points per game.

Boston dropped its season opener to the Philadelphia 76ers on the road, but it has won seven consecutive games -- the longest active win streak in the league. The C's also are the only team with fewer than two losses and their point differential of 9.3 is the best in the league.

Here's where the Celtics rank in notable NBA Power Rankings entering Monday night.

NBA.com: No. 1
Bleacher Report: No. 4
ESPN: No. 4
CBS Sports: No. 1
Rotoworld: No. 1
The Athletic: No. 6
Sports Illustrated: No. 4

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Chris Forsberg's latest Celtics report card>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.