Rick Carlisle says he could see the Celtics in the finals this year

In a game that looked headed to be a nail-biter last night Rick Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks found themselves on the other end of a 4th-quarter drubbing at the hands of the Boston Celtics in Texas last night. The C's ratcheted up the D in the 4th holding the Mavs to a measley 16 points in the final quarter. Isaiah Thomas did his usual routine scoring 29 points and dishing 8 assists and Marcus Smart came up big in his hometown with 19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals plus his usual suffocating defense.

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle has been very impressed with what he's seen form the Celtics and thinks they've got a real shot to reach the NBA Finals this year:

Asked to expand on his comments and he had a lot to say about this current Celtics team:

Now the Cavaliers are struggling - at least for them - and they have some injury concerns, particularly with Kevin Love and his previously repaired knee that's giving him trouble again. Love is out for the foreseeable future and if the Cavs were without him come playoff time that's certainly a massive blow, but let's all remember that there's a big difference between playoff LeBron James and regular season Bron Bron. Not to mention that the Washington Wizards are just as hot as the Celtics are right now too and an addition for either team at the trade deadline could help (or hurt) their chances at getting the upper hand.

We're so used to the "one game at a time" approach here in Boston/New England. Bill Belichick lives by the mantra (I imagine him thinking it eating his cereal, one spoonful at a time) and you'll never hear Brad Stevens talk past the Celtics next opponents either; however, Isaiah Thomas isn't afraid to say that he's got a bullseye on LeBron and Co:

While some might think he's getting ahead of himself I love it. Have yourself a goal and strive to be better than the best - the defending champions. The Celtics currently sit 2 games behind Cleveland for the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference and with two more matchups between the two this season, both in Boston, there's more than enough room for the Celtics to come out ahead come playoff seeding. Although the Celtics do sport the best road record in the conference they'd very much benefit in home court advantage throughout the playoffs and a potential Eastern Conference Finals matchup with King James.

Not trying to get too ahead of myself here let's go win a playoff series first, but I think it speaks volumes that one of the best coaches in the league thinks we've got shot.