Which is why the true kill shot to Boston's season didn't come until news dropped on Thursday that Kyrie Irving will require a second knee surgery which will keep him out for months. Instead, the two stars that inspired so much excitement and hope last summer, will both be watching from afar when Boston do battle in the playoffs.
Irving's initial timetable following knee surgery indicated he would be out 3-6 weeks, which left the door open for a return in the playoffs.
On March 24, the Celtics referred to Irving's March procedure as a "minimally-invasive procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee". And Gordon Hayward is not expected back as he recovers from his gruesome ankle injury in the season opener.
"In this case", Irving said on Instagram, "finding out I have an infection in my knee is definitely a moment that I now accept and move past without holding on to the (sic) all the what ifs, proving the nay-Sayers (sic) completely (expletive) wrong, and accomplishing the goals I've set out for the team and myself".
It's been a six-month roller coaster ride for the Celtics.
Salman Khan gets bail in blackbuck poaching case
Actor Salman Khan , who was on Thursday found guilty of poaching the endangered blackbuck and sentenced to five years in prison . The actor killed the animals in Rajasthan's Kankani village near Jodhpur during the shooting of film Hum Saath Saath Hain .
The Celtics are seeded second in the Eastern Conference, behind the Toronto Raptors and ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 3rd.
But that record doesn't reflect the fact that not only is Hayward out for the season, but now Irving is as well.
With Irving's introductory season in Celtics uniform done, he has now virtually unseated Larry Bird as the all-time owner of most points per game averaged by a player in his first season in Boston, per Elias Sports Bureau via ESPN Stats & Info. Boston's first-round playoff opponent will likely be Miami, Milwaukee or Washington. The decision was made to undergo a minor procedure on his knee two weeks ago, with the expectation that he'd be back for the second round of the National Basketball Association playoffs. Now, the Celtics have announced that he's going to miss the entire postseason.
Scarier than any of that for the Celtics is the long term health of the 26-year-old Irving. Initially, the Celtics appeared to have slightly gotten the better of the deal. That means the Celtics have time to see what their prized point guard looks like and test his health before deciding to commit more money and more years to him. During his seven-year career, he has only averaged 63 games per season. He hasn't played since March 11. The team will probably not want to risk re-injury, especially now that Irving will be out.
Which brings us back to maybe the most important playoff performer on the Celtics, Morris.