Celtics vs. Heat: Can Boston really beat Miami?

We're not just talking Tuesday night's game, either. Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics have made it very clear that their goal is to unseat the Miami Heat, their opponent in the NBA season opener Tuesday in Miami, this season. Is that a realistic goal?

Seemingly, yes. Boston came within one game of eliminating the Heat, who would go on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals, after an epic seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics showed that even with an older core, they could keep pace with the most talented team in the NBA.

Consider this now, too. Boston was able to go as far as it did last season without an offensively talented bench. In fact, the Celtics had one of the league's worst benches statistically, but that did not stop them from willing their way to the conference finals and nearly the NBA Finals.

Now, with players like Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee and more, the Celtics bench is much more stable. Many have even gone as far as to say that Boston has the deepest team in the league this year, and that certainly bodes well for their regular season odds.

Once the playoffs roll around, teams shorten their benches, and that's a plus for Miami. However, the addition of a far more talented Celtics bench will help give the starters some extra rest throughout the season and allow them to keep pace with other teams when doing so. If the bench can keep the C's starters feeling fresh and healthy come playoff time, there's a strong chance they will be playing into June once again.

What do you think? Can the Celtics beat the Heat in the East?



For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit SB Nation's team blog, CelticsBlog.

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