Prior to the 2018 NBA season, Celtics fans were riding high with the acquisitions of Kryie Irving from the Cavaliers and Gordon Hayward from the Jazz. Additionally, Boston was one of the preseason favorites to win the NBA Finals. All the hype changed as early as the first game of the season. Mere minutes into the season, Boston lost Gordon Hayward [VIDEO] for the season with a gruesome injury. The devastation for the team and its fans was apparent. Yet, the Celtics kept winning games. The production from the young guys Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum was greater than anyone expected and propelled the team to an appearance in the playoffs. However, Boston received more injury news as Kyrie will miss all of the playoffs with surgery.

Are the Celtics set up for failure in the playoffs?

It's easy to look at Boston without its two best players, Kyrie and Hayward, and say they stand no chance. Yet the reality is that they are still a top three team in the Eastern Conference. Yes you can look at Boston getting beaten up by Toronto just a few days ago, or LeBron James [VIDEO] and the Cavaliers always being a tough task in the playoffs. The Celtics have always hung around no matter who is in the game. Terry Rozier has had a career year for Boston filling in for Kyrie, as well as handling the backup spot while the star point guard was healthy. Both Tatum and Brown have provided offensive and defensive help -- with Tatum setting three-point records for the team. The Celtics always seem to get bailed out by Marcus Morris in the clutch where he excels.

Although the Celtics are severely undermanned, they have developed their players and young talent to fill in for the stars that have caught the injury bug. The bottom line is that Boston remains a top team in the East and will likely see Toronto or Cleveland along the way -- and possibly in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Which first round match-up is most worrisome?

Milwaukee Bucks

Future MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the team that has been an issue for the Celtics when matching up against them. The Bucks are a young team and can be a potential first round upset for whoever they line up against. Boston will dodge a bullet if they avoid Milwaukee in the first round. Other low seeds such as Miami or Washington provide easier match-ups for the Celtics. With Miami being potentially the easiest, Washington has a small rivalry with the Celtics. John Wall and the Wizards will give the Celtics everything they have, but Boston can still advance with that potential match-up. In the event of a first round win, a series with Toronto or Cleveland seems imminent.