Kevin Garnett is the leader.
Paul Pierce is the captain and the Truth.
Rajon Rondo is the guy everyone wants to take the reins.
And Avery Bradley is the MVP.
Is it really such a stretch to make that claim? The Celtics were nowhere until Bradley returned from double shoulder surgery a couple of weeks ago. Once he did, they went on a scintillating, six-game win streak marked by aggressive, tenacious defense played by just about everyone.
That kind of effort of the defensive end was nowhere to be found for most of the season before he came back. But since that's the only way Bradley knows how to play, it rubbed off on everyone and the Celts once again appeared to be a defensive force.
Even on Wednesday night, when the C's saw their win streak snapped, the defense was still pretty good. Yeah, there were some issues that night from earlier in the year that looked to be taken care of, but not showing up at that end of the floor was not the reason the Celts lost that game.
But Bradley went down again against New Orleans, this time with a mysterious rib injury that even coach Doc Rivers can't pinpoint exactly how, where or when it occurred.
So now, a few hours before game time against the Chicago Bulls, Bradley's status is up in the air. He may play on Friday night, he may not. But if he doesn't, will the Celts simply go back to playing like they did before he came back on Jan. 2?
Or perhaps a pertinent question could be, is Bradley injury prone?
He's a little guy, measuring up at 6'2", 180. Can his body take the physical pounding that comes with being a starting 2-guard who plays in excess of 30 minutes per game and is the back court's defensive stopper?
That remains to be seen. This injury could be nothing, Bradley could well start against the Bulls and put up another monster effort. Or, he could miss the game and it could be discovered that the rib issue is more serious and winds up putting him on the shelf for another significant period.
We'll find out. Yet given the clear link in regard to the Celts' success this season with Bradley vs. without him along with the fact that he could well be injured again just eight games after returning from another injury, it's OK to wonder.