Nine reasons the Celtics can contend
7. They play D
Back to something more concrete. The Celtics are third in the league in points allowed at 89.6 points per game. That's about 12 points below the league average. It's a remarkable turnaround from a team that visibly struggled to defend earlier in the season, and it's the surest sign that the Celtics can truly compete. They built their 2008 championship team on defense, and they've leaned on that side of the ball ever since. If they can continue to lock teams down, they'll have a shot. It hasn't all been Avery Bradley (left), but he doesn't hurt.