2012-13 Celtics preview: The South Beach showdown

Ray Allen and LeBron James will see the Celtics for the first time in 2012-13 Tuesday night.

We’re saying it for the sixth straight year now – the Boston Celtics are legitimate title contenders.

It’s Year 6 of what many thought was a three-year window, but we still hold these lofty expectations.

In five seasons, the Celtics have won an NBA Finals series, gone to another, made a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, and two others to the semifinals. Not too shabby.

But make no mistake: another Eastern Conference Finals loss just isn’t going to cut it. Celtics GM Danny Ainge has magnificently assembled a team that from top to bottom could very well be the deepest in the league.

While Celtics coach Doc Rivers is certainly glad to have the depth, he cautions about getting too high about it.

“It’s still a five-on-five game,” Rivers said. “I was laughing, if we could play 10-on-10, we would beat everybody. But you can’t do that, it’s five at a time on the floor.”

Fair point, but having capable bodies to step in due to injury or foul trouble is a huge plus. Last season, Boston’s bench averaged an NBA-low 15.2 minutes per game and ranked second-to-last in scoring at 21.6 points, last in rebounds (11.5), and last in assists (3.6). To put that in perspective, Western Conference contenders Denver, San Antonio and Dallas averaged nearly double that in points in roughly five more minutes of playing time.

Now with the additions of Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger to last year’s team, the C’s are built for battle for 48 minutes a night.

But they know that the war will go through South Beach.

Not because of former Celtic Ray Allen, who spurned a return to Boston to join the team’s rival Miami Heat . But because of the reigning NBA MVP, LeBron James, a player the Celtics feel they can manage to contain now with plenty of versatility in their lineup.

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and the remaining players from last year’s team were one quarter away from a return to the Finals. They could taste it – but unfortunately for them, tasted defeat.

This is the most complete team since the 1980s era Big Three, and the C’s know they’re in a position to win it all.

“We have a hell of a team, man,” Green said. “I mean who doesn’t want to be a part of something special like this? We have a great opportunity to win the championship.”

It starts Tuesday night.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…