BOSTON — While much of this season has been bumpy for the Boston Celtics, the reality remains they have one of the most talented rosters in the NBA.

Lately, the Celtics have rounded into form, and that never was more apparent than in Saturday’s game to the Golden State Warriors. Though it resulted in a 115-111 loss, the Celtics delivered a valiant effort against the team that’s been the class of the NBA for a few seasons. If not for a few missteps down the stretch, Boston very much could have won, as it never trailed by more than nine, and the game featured 21 lead changes and 14 more ties.

With LeBron James off to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason and the Celtics getting a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back to begin this season, many pegged the C’s as the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference.

So how far away are the Celtics from reaching Golden State’s level?

“Not far at all,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “They are one of the best teams in the league. 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 out of the East who comes out of the East and we have a lot of work to do to also 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. A lot of great teams, but Boston is clearly a great two-way team and that is what it takes in the playoffs.”

Indeed, as talented as the Celtics may be, the likes of the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers won’t be a cakewalk this spring. But if the Celtics continue to hash out some of the issues that have plagued them through the first three-plus months, it’s clear they’re able to a least give the Warriors a pretty good challenge.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images