Everyone Loves The Celtics Now

Mar 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett (5) taps the head of guard Rajon Rondo (9) during the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Celtics defeated the Timberwolves 100-79. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

They still have fresh dirt on their spades from when they buried the team alive, but the pundits are now all aglow over the emerging Celtics.

They have climbed all the way to number 6 in ESPN's power rankings.

Seems like forever ago now that the Celts lost five straight to limp into the All-Star break. Ray Allen is figuring out his new bench gig, Rajon Rondo has topped 10 assists in 17 consecutive games and Boston is 17-7 since the break, good for a three-game Atlantic lead (and the No. 4 seed that goes with it) with 10 to go.

Gerry Callahan (the same guy that urged the Celtics to trade Rajon Rondo) is now singing their praises.

Already an upset special - BostonHerald.com

Kill the Streisand and cue the Crosby, Stills and Nash because something is happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. Six weeks ago, the Celtics were 15-17 and pondering a fire sale at the trade deadline. They lost Jermaine O’Neal for the season. They lost Chris Wilcox indefinitely. They lost Allen for five games and Mickael Pietrus for nine games and counting. And what did they gain? Well, more minutes for their backup point guard. That’s it, that’s all, and that, as Robert Frost said, has made all the difference.

That's oversimplifying things quite a bit, methinks. But whatever. I'll take some Jackie MacMullan even-keeled analysis any day.

Boston Celtics positioning themselves as contenders - ESPN Boston

Funny how the Celtics suddenly are pushing all the right buttons. They've tweaked their rotation and survived yet another critical injury (to Mikael Pietrus). Prevailing wisdom tells you they can't play small ball all the time against teams with legitimate big men, such as Orlando and Indiana. You've got to figure their rebounding woes will eventually burn them. And, like it or not, this is a lineup loaded with veterans who will, at times, fall victim to fatigue. That's all true, but so is this: The Celtics very likely will host a first-round playoff series.

There you go. The work is far from being done, but this team is far from being finished.

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