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Richard Hamilton says Cavs have been better than Celtics even before Kyrie Irving’s injury

The Boston Celtics are currently the No. 2 seeded team in the Eastern Conference standings. However, their path to success this season has been strewn with complications, including an injury to Gordon Hayward on opening night and now Kyrie Irving’s ailing knee. Now, with less than five games remaining in the regular season and Irving ruled out, their chances of reaching the NBA Finals seem to be fading, according to most accounts.

Former Detroit Pistons star Richard “Rip” Hamilton recently joined CBS Sports to discuss the ramifications of Irving’s injury, and what it means for Boston’s chances in the playoffs.

Via Kevin Skiver of CBS Sports:

“When they made the trade for Kyrie Irving, they said to themselves ‘alright, you know what, this is going to be a four- or five-year process. We’ve got a lot of young guys on this team — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown,’ Hamilton said during his interview. “They didn’t look at it as trying to win now. They felt their best time win a championship was probably going to be three or four years down the road.

“Even if Kyrie was on [the Celtics], I still think the Cleveland Cavaliers [were] the better team, especially when you look at how depleted [the Celtics] are … Marcus Smart, they don’t know if he’s gonna be back for the second round of the playoffs then you’ve got Gordon Hayward who’s been out all season long,” Hamilton continued. “So when you look at this roster, I think in order for them to great and in order to beat a Cleveland or the Toronto Raptors, they need to be healthy.”

Losing Irving to injury is obviously a tough blow. However, the Celtics have managed to persevere, as they’ve posted a 7-4 record without Uncle Drew’s services, which includes a six-game win streak.

On the other hand, the Cavs have won 10 of their last 11 games, including eight straight at home. Currently, the boys from Northeast Ohio are holding the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, just one half-game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers, who they’ll face on Friday night inside the Wells Fargo Center.

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