Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/28/13
While their west coast foray hasn’t exactly gone the way Boston Celtics fans hoped it might, the club can take solace in the fact that the end is near and they’ve managed to hold onto their Eastern Conference playoff position. This Friday they’ll head to the Bay Area for a run-in with the NBA betting community’s biggest 2012-13 surprise: the Golden State Warriors. With all eyes on Boston’s time-tested veterans, the Celtics have managed to stay strong despite pressure from a series of interconference opponents. Losses to Denver, Los Angeles and Portland have no doubt reined in some of the franchise’s February momentum, but wins against Phoenix and Utah demonstrate that they should still be part of the postseason conversation. With 28-1 odds of winning the NBA championship, they’ll have to continue to show that they can win games regardless of whether they’re lined up against an Eastern Conference basement dweller or a Western Conference leader. In Golden State, the Celtics will face a resilient group of youngsters led by brilliant bench boss Mark Jackson. If Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and company are looking for an opportunity to send a message that their second-half surge is no fluke, they have their chance. Since Rajon Rondo went down with a season-ending injury in January, the Celtics have still managed to look like one of the deadliest teams in the East. While things may have cooled slightly, they still sit confident in their postseason position. Although there’s room for Boston to climb further up the standings, there’s also room for them to slip, a looming threat that won’t be taken lightly. Having not played at home since prior to the All-Star Game, the C’s look forward to settling back in at the Garden when the opportunity comes following the Friday clash. Considering that both Boston and Golden State have taken turns redefining much of the NBA betting line over the course of the season — the Celtics were too old, the Warriors too young, etc. — the upcoming affair makes for a must-watch late-season matchup. Think you know how the battle of age versus beauty will unfold? With playoff berths on the line for each franchise, we’ll soon find out. Bet on the NBA at Bovada just in time for the late-season playoff race.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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