Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 12/26/12
After spending four years crafting a reputation as one of the NBA's best teams in November and December, the Boston Celtics have found the last two seasons to be rather unkind when it comes to getting out of the blocks quickly, with early hardship coming to define them in their old age. It started last year when, without a training camp to rely on, coach Doc Rivers' past-its-prime roster took a 15-17 mark into the All-Star break during the condensed, lockout-shortened season. Boston was essentially left for dead as a result, written off as finally too decrepit to hang with the league's young, up-and-coming powers -- especially at the headlong pace the league had them playing. But then the Celtics shocked virtually everyone in the second half by winning 24 of their final 34 games, becoming just the fourth team in league history to win its division after having a losing record at the break. That Boston team earned the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference as a result and then continu...
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