Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/11/13
Forget about the shroud of uncertainty surrounding the Boston Celtics thanks to trade rumors and injury concerns circulating this season. It seems as though the veteran ball club has done everything in their power to stave off the doubt and not only maintain their legitimacy in the Eastern Conference, but improve their NBA odds in the process. With a five-game West Coast swing on the horizon next week, Boston will face all the more pressure to live up to their NBA futures. According to Bovada’s NBA oddsmakers, the Celtics have 20-1 odds of winning the championship. In order to make good on such lofty expectations, however, the short-staffed Celtics will have to find a way to continue to win games in the absence of superstar point guard Rajon Rondo and standout rookie Jared Sullinger. If their play of late is any indication, though, that shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks to a convincing win streak in the thick of the 2012-13 campaign, Boston has emerged as a contender for the Larry O’Brien Trophy this June. Although an elite-level Celtics team is nothing new, many had speculated that the window of opportunity had already closed on the squad led by the 36-year-old Kevin Garnett and 35-year-old Paul Pierce. Up first for the veterans on their West Coast adventure will be a more than capable Denver Nuggets team, followed by dates with, among others, the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trailblazers. There’s no guarantee that the C’s make it through the road swing with as much momentum as they’ll take into it, but Boston has done nothing but prove critics wrong this season. A quiet week this week, coupled with the looming NBA trade deadline means that this forthcoming five-game stand could be indicative of just where this team falls in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Although it’s nearly a foregone conclusion at this stage that they’ll qualify for the postseason, the question comes down to whether they’ll make the cut as one of the conference’s elite. Few may have suspected the Celtics to continue winning games at this point in the year considering the cards that they’ve been dealt — maybe that’s our fault for interpreting Boston’s age as a liability rather than an asset. Get NBA odds for the Eastern Conference playoff race at Bovada. With postseason positioning on the line, the final stretch starts now.

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

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving ate the Celtics’ heart during the second half of Game 4

NFL to reportedly bring back fun touchdown celebrations

Mike Trout explains why he doesn’t look at advanced stats

Reds’ Joey Votto shuts down heckler with “I remember when you used to be thin”

Rob Gronkowski gets new contract, chance to double salary

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Padres offering $99 ticket plan for five June wins or 16 June games – whatever happens first

Former Jets WR Devin Smith found out he was cut via Twitter

Roger Goodell tweets ‘Key & Peele’ joke about relaxed celebration rules

Martavis Bryant: ‘I know this is my last chance’

Glennon: ‘This is my year and I’m not worried about the future’

Durant apologizes for response to fans complaining about blowouts

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker