Sports Q: How many games will the Celtics win this year?

Can the Celtics top their 49 wins from last season?

Boston Celtics' Kemba Walker shoots during the NBA basketball team's training camp, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston Celtics' Kemba Walker shoots during training camp. –(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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How many games will the Celtics win this year? Say what you will about Kyrie, but they were a better team with him and [Al] Horford. I don’t think they win more than 45. You? – Tom R.

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I put them at 50 in my column Monday, which is one more than last year. I agree that last year’s team was more talented. This one will be more unified, and the pieces should fit better if Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have improved as much as it seems and Gordon Hayward is healthy.

Kemba Walker is a nice consolation prize for Kyrie departing, and he’ll be a perfect fit off the court. And in the long run, they may have dodged a bullet with Al Horford leaving. They were fortunate last year that his knee problems didn’t plague him at the end, and I wonder what he’ll be two years from now.

But they’re really going to miss him. Horford made such savvy decisions when he had the ball, and defensively they’re headed for a huge falloff in pick-and-roll defense without him and Aron Baynes inside. I just don’t know how they mask that flaw. Defense is not Enes Kanter’s strong suit, Daniel Theis isn’t the answer, and Robert Williams is still too enamored with blocking shots rather than being in the right spot. Maybe Vincent Poirier will help there, though I didn’t see much in preseason.

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The offense should be very good, and it will be fun watching Grant Williams and Carsen Edwards develop. This feels like it might be kind of a redshirt year for Romeo Langford, but fans are sleeping on him. Think he’s going to be a good one in a couple of years.

So … better offense, some flaws to fix on defense if they can, and far, far better chemistry. Fifty wins? Fifty wins it is.

But what does everyone else think? How many games will the Celtics win this year? I’ll hear you in the comments.