Are the C's title contenders?

Amidst Boston's resurgence, the hot question is whether the Celtics have reestablished themselves as title contenders. Our friends at the Heat Index seem to think so...

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.