How far do you think the Celtics will go?

Marcus Morris Celtics
Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris drives to the basket in front of Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic. –AP Photo/Steve Dykes

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The Kyrie Irving news is obviously disappointing. I think it was still realistic for the Celtics to come out of the East – or at least get to the East finals – had he returned, especially if Marcus Smart came back too. Now, I’m not sure what expectations should be. Should getting out of the first round be the goal? Can they still win two rounds? How far do you think they will go? — Aaron P.

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I suppose this is a cop out, Aaron, but it depends who they’re playing. They’ve got the No. 2 seed more or less locked down. At this writing, the Wizards and Bucks have the same record (42-37) and hold the Nos. 7 and 8 spots, with the Heat (43-36) in the No. 6 spot. I’d prefer they end up with the Heat, who have had some issues lately with Hassan Whiteside. The Bucks would be tough because of the Freak Factor with Giannis. The Wizards, with John Wall back and looking slimmed down and healthy, would be a really tough matchup. I hope it’s the Heat. I’d settle for the Bucks. And my faith in this team’s resilience is such that I think they can win a series, even shorthanded.

I can’t see them beating the other top-four seeds – the Raptors, Cavs, and Sixers – at this point, though. So I expect them to win a round, get bounced in the second while putting up a fight, then coming back and stomping the rest of the conference next year with Kyrie, Hayward, Tatum, Horford, and the rest.

What do you guys think? How far will the Celtics make it in the playoffs without Kyrie? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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