Tom Haberstroh: Fact. Opponents are shooting 39 percent and averaging 83.4 points per game over their last 10 games against the C's. If they continue to asphyxiate opposing teams like this, their ceiling is higher than the top floor of the John Hancock Tower.
Michael Wallace: Fact. If they're relatively healthy, the Celtics are as dangerous as anyone. Their combination of experience, great point guard play, stingy defense and unflappable closers make them a team you simply don't want to face in the playoffs. Is Boston playing on the same consistent level as Chicago and Miami? Obviously not. But are they still capable of winning a first-round series and upsetting someone in the second? Yes.
Brian Windhorst: Fact. They are back to playing championship level defense. When they can do that their depth issues and offensive inconsistency become much easier to manage. The Celtics are now the best defensive team in the lead by most metrics and that is how they reached those two Finals. They are an underdog, yes, but playing that strongly at the defensive end they would have a chance against any team.
The folks doing today's ESPN.com 5-on-5? Not so much.
Play Podcast Brendan Hall and Scott Barboza wrap up the 2013 football season and look ahead to the future with John Sarianides.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio discusses Cowboys-Redskins, Saints-Panthers, Greg Hardy's emergence, Patriots-Ravens and more.
Play Podcast NFL Films' Greg Cosell talks about the Ravens' improvement, the impact of Rob Gronkowski's injury, the Broncos' pass defense, whether Kirk Cousins is a better QB than Robert Griffin III and more.
Play Podcast Mark Schlereth talks about which outcomes could surprise him this weekend between the Patriots and Ravens. Why the Chiefs defense isn't as great as we thought it was, if Mike Shanahan could be throwing his final games in Washington and much more.
Play Podcast Ravens QB Joe Flacco talks about his health, Baltimore's win over the Lions, his team's four-game winning streak, preparing to face the Patriots, the keys to success in December and more.
Play Podcast Super Bowl XXXV champion Brian Billick dishes on Tom Coughlin's future with the Giants, the state of the NFC North, Patriots-Ravens and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday dishes on what Peyton Manning is like, Patriots-Ravens, the Cowboys' game management during the Packers' comeback and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski weighs in on Packers-Cowboys, the scrutiny of Tony Romo, Marc Trestman's decision to start Jay Cutler, Patriots-Dolphins, the Chiefs' offense and more.