Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/20/13
Yeah, we’ve all seen it by now: Jason Terry got put on a poster. Not a poster, but a milk carton. Worse yet, the Boston Celtics fell two points short of the reigning champion Miami Heat in their mid-March rematch. Sometimes it’s necessary to taste the sour sensation of suffering before one can truly rise from the ashes. Fans looking to bet on the NBA playoff chase, take note. While the C’s would have certainly preferred to bump the Eastern Conference-leading Heat for a second time this regular season when they played earlier this week, they’ll settle for the fact that they played the No. 1 team on the NBA betting line to a nail-biting finish. Now with 30-1 odds on the NBA futures, they’ll be in an even better position to sneak up on the kings when it matters most — the postseason. While Bostonians will get one last opportunity to pry a win away from the Heat, their series-concluding matchup will take place on Miami turf come mid-April. At that point, Celtics fans hope the vets behind Boston’s surprising resurgence will be safely nuzzled in position to claim home-court in the opening round of the playoffs. At this stage in the game, however, such a possibility is in limbo. Boston has been one of the feel-good stories of the 2012-13 campaign ever since Rajon Rondo went down with a season-ending knee injury in January, but expectations for just how far they’ll go in the postseason will be tempered until they can get their heads above water in their conference playoff bracket. While their once-compromised playoff berth has been all but guaranteed, they have their sights set on moving out of the sixth, seventh and eighth seeds and potentially into the top four. It’s not out of the question. The NBA betting community, while somewhat reluctant to pencil them in for a deep playoff run, is well aware of the fact that this Celtics squad is a hard squad to rule out. According to oddsmakers, Boston currently holds higher NBA futures than the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls who sit ahead of them in the standings. They may not be barreling down the one-way road to Ringsville, but the messages they’ve sent over the course of the second half of this season have been received loud and clear. That they’ll have yet more motivation to knock off rival Miami after LeBron James managed to obliterate Jason Terry with one of the dunks of the century only fuels that fire. Bet on the NBA as the final playoff push heats up.
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