The Boston Celtics are confident. Like, really confident.
The Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed last season added All-Star big man Al Horford and nearly landed superstar Kevin Durant in free agency. Jae Crowder, for one, seems to still be riding the emotional roller coaster this summer has been for the organization.
Appearing at one of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 60 Days of Summer events, he ripped Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, but he didn’t stop there: He threw a jab at the consensus second-best team in the conference, the Toronto Raptors.
“My guys were telling me that Bleacher Report says we’ll win 59 games,” Crowder told MassLive.com’s Tom Westerholm. “That’s a lot of wins, but I want to get past the first round of the playoffs. Two seasons in a row getting swept” (Note: The Celtics lost in six games this past year) “that’s my goal to be honest with you. I think our ceiling is the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto is not a team we’re worried about. I think Cleveland is the top team. That’s what it comes down to.”
The Raptors earned the No. 2 seed and defeated the Celtics in three of four head-to-head matchups last season. Crowder hasn’t forgotten, and he knows that while the team is better, they aren’t quite where they need to be yet.
“I still do think we are missing a few pieces, I’m not going to lie to you,” Crowder said. “I know we can win games. I’m just trying to advance, advance, advance. Looking at how the playoffs played out the last two years, I feel like we have a good chance.”
But, hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little July bulletin board material to get fans juiced for the upcoming season, right?
Thumbnail photo via Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports Images