Celtics Remain Dark Horse for NBA Championship Despite Still Having Miami Heat’s Number

Ray Allen, Paul PierceThe Boston Celtics may have dropped their opening day matchup to the Miami Heat this year, but that doesn’t mean the C’s aren’t still one of the few teams who have LeBron James’ number. Regardless of what the NBA odds may have predicted at the time, the Celtics have gone a combined 6-2 against Miami over the course of the last two regular seasons.

This Sunday, when the two teams meet for the first time since October, they’ll do so coming from very different vantage points. While the reigning champion Heat have thrived in 2012-13, to the point where they’re overwhelming favorites in the NBA futures, the Celtics have been struggling to answer lingering questions all season long.

Has the window closed on the aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce? Will the absence of Ray Allen — who now suits up for, of all teams, Miami — prove to be the difference in Beantown?

As a result of those questions, the once-formidable Boston juggernaut now has just 25-1 odds of winning the NBA championship.

Question marks aside, however, the Celtics are still a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference. With a superstar point guard in Rajon Rondo and a roster that seems to look deeper with each passing week, Boston remains a legitimate NBA betting option toward the second half of the regular season.

Although the days of the Celtics constantly pulling the rug out from under a wayward Miami franchise may be in the rearview mirror, a Boston win this weekend is far from out of the question — and what better way to welcome Allen back to the TD Garden?

If the vets did manage to pull such a feat off, the momentum could serve them well in the final months of the regular season. We may be at a point where few know exactly what to expect from the Celtics, and that could work to their advantage if teams start to underestimate what they’re capable of.

They may not be the favorite overnight or at any point over the rest of the NBA season, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t reason for optimism in Boston. Weigh in on the clash of rivals this weekend when the mighty Heat take their talents to New England.

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Yardbarker

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