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5 reasons why the Boston Celtics are a legitimate title contender 

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726   //    10 Mar 2018, 03:46 IST

Minnesota Timberwolves v Boston Celtics
Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics bench

With a 117-108 road win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, the Boston Celtics became the second team in the league to confirm a playoff berth.

Currently owning a record of 46-20, the Celtics are ahead of the rest of their Conference rivals by a margin of at least 7 games with 16 left to play. The blockbuster Kyrie Irving trade seems to have been a genuine shot in the arm for the Celtics, as the point guard continues to leave opponents with broken ankles with the same dexterity that he displayed in the first 6 seasons of his career.

Losing Gordon Hayward within the first five minutes of their regular season campaign has not slowed the Celtics down by the least bit, as their record suggests. They have won high-voltage encounters against the Warriors, Rockets, Cavaliers and Raptors - who comprise the rest of the NBA's elite based on this season's evidence, so it is clear that their success is not a fluke either.

Let's take a look at the 5 most important reasons why the Celtics are a genuine threat to wrest the NBA championship from the Warriors:

#5 A deep rotation

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Celtics bench cheers on against the Hornets

Among the many deciding aspects of playoff basketball is the number of players a coach can field against his opponent through the course of a seven-game series. The deeper a team goes in its rotation, the more it can save its starters from unnecessary mileage through the course of both regular season play, as well as 2nd and 3rd quarters of playoff games.

The Celtics are one of the deepest teams in the league. They have three legitimate point guards - Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart would possibly be starters on other NBA teams. They were able to efficiently deal with the injury to Gordon Hayward because of the depth of their swingman rotation - players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were able to absorb many of the minutes which were supposed to go to the 8th year stud from Butler University.

Daniel Theis, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes and Greg Monroe are 4 above-average NBA frontcourt players, all with different skillsets and the ability to hold their own against most NBA opposition. Any of the 4 could be paired with Al Horford based on whichever matchup would give them the greatest advantage in the game.

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Started as an Arsenal fan at the age of 6. Became a Ronaldo and a Real Madrid fan after the 2002 World Cup. Bandwagon Celtics fan this season, though I've watched the NBA with increasing frequency over the past 14 years or so. Played both games with my high school team at some of the highest levels there are in India. Played against East Bengal u-17s in college. A member of Mercurial FC, 1st division Amateur League team in Bangalore.
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