The 2012 Boston Celtics: A Shorter Road To Banner No. 18

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The 2012 Boston Celtics:  A Shorter Road To Banner No. 18
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The 2012 Season could be this core's finale

Now that the NBA lockout has ended, all 30 teams are scrambling to fit three months' worth of personnel decisions into one-third of that time.  The Boston Celtics have been one of the least active franchises, instead choosing to go into the 2012 season with their "Big 4" intact for what will be a final run at banner No. 18.

The Celtics open the 66-game season on Christmas Day against the new-look New York Knicks.  They may benefit from a shortened season as they are one of the oldest teams in the league, but playing at New York on opening day will certainly be a telling story for Boston.

Last year's Celtics won an impressive 56 games, even while plagued with injuries.  But their five-game ousting from the 2010-2011playoffs at the hands of the Miami Heat was ugly, and the team must rebound in 2012 with virtually the same squad.

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