Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett’s Much-Needed Rest May Favor Celtics Over Heat on Monday

Kevin Garnett, Paul PierceThe Boston Celtics may have found themselves in a relatively light week — light enough that they’ve made an obvious effort to give Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett more rest than usual — but they’ll be right back in the swing of things this Monday. NBA odds favor the reigning champion Miami Heat in the March matchup, but the last time these two clubs met the veteran C’s came out on top.

With 30-1 odds of winning the NBA championship, the Celtics sit in a peculiar position. They’ve seen their 2013 forecast vary wildly over the course of the season, their odds first dipping disconcertingly low and then climbing back up as they re-established themselves as Eastern Conference contenders in the wake of the Rajon Rondo injury.

These days, while few would consider them locks or even favorites to push deep into the playoffs, nobody wants to completely rule them out just yet either.

Boston will face the No. 1 team, in the Miami Heat, on the NBA line. Not only are LeBron James and company favored in virtually every game they suit up for, but long-term as well. Miami’s 6-5 NBA futures are impressive, but nothing new.

Last January, however, the overwhelming advantage that the Heat took into the Beantown contest proved futile. Might it have been the start of the momentum spike the C’s enjoyed around this year’s mid-season mark?

Regardless of what it might have been, the possibility of yet another Boston upset remains. That’s just what happens when the stars of today underestimate the slightly creaky stars of yesterday.

Joining Garnett and Pierce in their brigade against both time and the Eastern Conference’s finest will be a convoy of young contributors ranging from the offensive force Jeff Green to defensive wunderkind Avery Bradley. The roster may not strike fear in the eyes of opponents — or provide any noticeable bump to their NBA odds — but that’s long become Boston’s nature.

With the Big Three once again out of their element when the Monday game tips off in the Garden, Boston will slowly and methodically go to work. By taking their time, playing it right and chipping away at the lead of those ahead of them, a win isn’t out of the question.

Don’t believe us? Look at how far the Celtics have come in the standings.

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