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Celtics know the Miami Heat will be a difficult challenge

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  May 27, 2012 12:31 AM

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There were no guarantees made, and there were no questions about the loyalty of other team's fan base asked. The Celtics didn't fire shots at their Eastern Conference opponent, the Miami Heat, but they didn't back down from the challenge, either. Celtics players said they were confident heading into the series which starts Monday.

"Last year is in the past," said Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. "This year we are a totally different team. We feel we can beat Miami. Obviously we got to this point. There is no doubt in my mind that we can."

Rondo's statement was probably the most boastful of all the Celtics' comments about the Heat, but the Celtics have every reason to be confident. They went 3-1 against the Heat this season, the lone loss coming in the second game of the season, a game which Paul Pierce missed.

"We know we are capable of going into their building and getting the win," said Pierce. "But they're a different team. They're in a playoff mindset now ... they are going to be a lot more difficult."

Kevin Garnett said the Celtics need to prevent LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from combining for 60 or 70 points per game. And he also refused to take the bait when asked if he had a message for the other team's fan base.

"Nothing at all," said Garnett, laughing. "You got me with that once. Not again."

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