The Boston Celtics were expected to be good entering the 2023-24 season, and they certainly have been through their first four games of the season. The C's, fresh off a 155-104 demolition of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, are the final undefeated team in the Eastern Conference, and while the sample size is small, they look like the team to beat in the NBA right now.

The Celtics put together an explosive offseason of work after falling short in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat last year. Out went Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, and in came Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday. The results on paper gave Boston easily the deepest top-six unit in the league, and that has translated to the court, where the Celtics are coasting past their opponents.

It's only four games, and anything can happen over the course of a full 82-game season, but this Celtics team looks legit, and they will only continue to get better as they play together more frequently. So with the first week of action in the books, let's take a look at three quick takeaways from Boston's flaming hot start to the new campaign.

The Celtics defense is as good as advertised

Boston Celtics players Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, and Kristaps Porzingis ahead of the season.


Throughout their rise as of the premier title contenders in the league, the Celtics have relied heavily on their defense to make up for their cold-bouts on offense. While losing Smart, who was the Defensive Player of the Year for the 2021-22 season, and Williams, who is one of the top shot blockers in the NBA, obviously hurts, but Holiday and Porzingis have stepped in and immediately proven that Boston's defense is better than ever.

Ever since the acquisition of Holiday, fans have been drooling over the defensive backcourt of himself and Derrick White, and well, they both have been lights out to start the season. Both Holiday and White are versatile, switchable guards who can do everything on defense, and they are just pounding their opposition into submission. Holiday is averaging nearly two blocks per game right now, while White is averaging 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.

In the paint, Porzingis has seamlessly filled into Williams' free-roaming role, and while he's not the defender Williams is, Joe Mazzulla has the luxury of mixing and matching his lineups by bringing Al Horford off the bench. Add in two of the best two-way wings in the game in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and this defense has proven that they can swarm their opponent when their shots aren't falling.

The Celtics clutch-time offense has vastly improved

Kristaps Porzingis and Jayson Tatum on fire

Of course, when you have the offensive firepower that the Celtics have at their disposal, you don't even have to worry about their defense on a nightly basis. This isn't the first time that Boston has possessed a talented offense, but one area where they've struggled mightily over the past few years is their clutch-time offense. While the blowouts over the Pacers and Washington Wizards are more recent, Boston grinded out late victories over the New York Knicks and Miami Heat to open the season.

In the season-opener, it looked like Boston's late-game offensive woes still lingered, as the Celtics threw away a double-digit lead in the fourth to end up trailing by six points with four minutes left. Porzingis quickly proved his worth by leading Boston back, and they ended up rallying for a 108-104 victory. And against a Heat team that has had the C's number in recent season, Boston managed to keep them at arm's length for much of the fourth quarter to pick up a 119-111 victory.

Boston isn't going to score 155 points every night, so their ability to close out games early on is extremely noteworthy. Tatum and Brown have struggled with the attention opposing defenses have thrown at them late in games, but with legitimate scoring options in White, Holiday, and Porzingis around them, it's extremely difficult to stop. The Celtics offense is legit, but their ability to score in close games early has been the most encouraging aspect of their hot start.

The Celtics bench concerns are overblown

Celtics Al Horford, Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser

The biggest concern for the Celtics entering the season was their bench unit, particularly behind the injury-prone Porzingis. Horford is a starting-caliber player, but he's getting older, and Boston clearly wants to keep him healthy for the playoffs. But who else will play behind him? Or even further, who else will play behind any of the starters?

Horford is obviously the first guy off the bench, with Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, and Oshae Brissett following behind them. This unit has had a bit of a slower start, but they aren't going to put up massive numbers when playing alongside these starters. Again, Boston has five guys that can go for 20 any given night, so the bench players aren't going to come into the game and immediately start firing away.

Having depth in the event players get injured, which is bound to happen, is crucial, but realistically speaking, as long as the bench can come into the game and play good defense, while hitting the occasional three to keep the defense honest, Boston is going to be fine. These guys will have to step up at some point, and as Pritchard and Hauser proved with big nights against the Pacers, they are more than capable of doing so when their number gets called.