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Can The Celtics Overtake The Patriots As Boston's No. 2?

Reporting from Boston, the L.A. Times' Lisa Dillman tries to capture the pulse of the Boston sports scene in preparation for Thursday's Game 1 of the NBA Finals. After speaking with several Boston sports fans, Dillman tries to answer the question of who is the second most popular sports team in town.

"It's a Red Sox city obviously — they've been around the longest and passed through the most generations," he wrote to The Times. "The No. 2 spot rotates [depending] on how the other teams are doing. In the '70s, it was the Bruins. In the '80s, [ Larry] Bird came to prominence and the Celts were actually more popular than anyone until [ Roger] Clemens and the Red Sox took it back in 1986.

"In the mid-90s, [Bill] Parcells made the Pats the No. 2 team and that held through the last decade. I'd say the Celts are No. 3 right now [behind the Sox and Pats] but the 1-2-3 spots are tighter than you'd think."

The city is certainly abuzz with Celtics fever, especially given the dream Boston-LA matchup in the finals. But can the C's overtake the Patriots? Have the Pats left the door open after two sub-par seasons? Celtics? Patriots?