After star player Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury during the first game of the season, many people counted the Celtics out.
On Sunday night, they play a decisive game seven against the reigning Eastern conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers with a trip to the NBA Finals squarely in the balance.
It's been an incredible ride for Celtics fans this NBA season after losing Gordon Hayward to a gruesome leg injury during the first game of the season.
Many people counted the Celtics out at that point.
Fans, coaches and even analysts were pleasantly surprised by their emergence.
"It's pretty exciting," says South Hadley resident Kyle Callahan. "I don't think anyone really thought this would happen after the Hayward injury and after Kyrie went out. So to have this opportunity is pretty exciting.
Led by former Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and the help of budding superstar Jayson Tatum, the Celtics emerged as contenders, finishing the season with the second-best record in the Eastern conference.
The Celtics would need to overcome more adversity after losing Irving in March to knee surgery.
Even when the playoffs began, many people counted the Celtics out.
To no avail, they surprised us again and have reached the Eastern conference finals, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks and a very-talented Philadelphia 76ers team.
This year's Celtics are no strangers to having their backs against the wall either, having already played a Game Seven against the previously mentioned Bucks.
"For them to be where they are at," said Holyoke resident Mike Afflitto. "With the players that they have, the season is already a success. Anything else is pretty much extra."
A combination of solid defense, great coaching and determination, have the Celtics poised for yet another NBA Finals appearance, their first under head coach Brad Stevens.
The last time the Celtics were in the NBA Finals was back in 2010 with Doc Rivers at the helm.
Unfortunately, they were bested in seven games by a Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers team.
As the clock nears midnight on this Cinderella story, fans huddle around their television sets to watch their Celtics battle one last time.
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