Before the Celtics  renew their rivalry with the Heat in Miami on Tuesday night and both teams begin their march toward what seems like an almost inevitable second straight Eastern Conference finals showdown, let’s predict 18 franchise and NBA milestones the C’s will eclipse during the 2012-13 season.
18. Considering he totaled 620 assists in just 53 games last season, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo  will shatter his own single-season franchise record for assists (794) and pass Bill Russell  for fifth on the C’s career assists list. In doing so, he could become the first NBA player since the turn of the century to average 12 assists per game.
17. Kevin Garnett  will score his 6,000th point in a Celtics uniform, passing Ray Allen  (5,987) for 21st on the franchise scoring list. He should also surpass 3,000 rebounds, 1,000 assists, 400 steals and 400 blocks in green and white before the year is through, climbing a few more rungs on his ladder to the rafters .
16. Five ways Celtics captain Paul Pierce  piles even more cement on his franchise legacy: 1) If he plays all 82, he’ll surpass Robert Parish  by a single contest for second behind John Havlicek on the C’s career games played list; 2) If Pierce plays 2,941 minutes, which he did in 2008-09, he’ll pass Russell for second behind Hondo; 3) If he takes his usual 1,000-plus field goal attempts, he’ll pass Larry Bird  for second behind Hondo; 4) If he makes 500, he’ll pass Parish for third behind Bird; and 5) Like Rondo, Pierce will pass Russell for fourth in career C’s assists.
15. When the Celtics win their 53rd game of the year — topping Bovada’s over/under of 50.5 — Doc Rivers  passes Tommy Heinsohn for second behind Red Auerbach  among coaches on the franchise’s career wins list.
14. In addition to climbing the NBA’s career minutes list this season — passing Havlicek (46,471), Gary Payton (47,117), Reggie Miller  (47,619) and John Stockton  (47,764) on his way to sixth behind Wilt Chamberlain  (47,859) — Garnett could also crack the league’s top 10 all-time games played and rebounding lists. He needs to play 1,985 minutes over 79 games while grabbing 456 boards to make all that happen. Also, after 271 more field goals this season, Garnett will join 10 others in NBA history to make 10,000 buckets in his career. Kobe Bryant  currently ranks 10th on that list with 10,286 career field goals.
13. Similarly, Pierce makes another 274 free throws to oust Allen Iverson  and climb into the league’s top 10 career list. The C’s captain has averaged 436 free throws a year over 14 seasons.
12. Considering Jason Terry  made 59 more 3-pointers than Jason Kidd  during last year’s shortened season, the Celtics guard will make 86 more triples this year than his almost 40-year-old former teammate in order to move into third on the NBA’s career 3-point field goals list behind only Miller and Allen.
11. Meanwhile, Pierce — whose 1,678 career 3-pointers currently ranks him ninth in NBA history — should climb as high as sixth on the all-time list, passing Rashard Lewis (1,690), Dale Ellis (1,719) and Peja Stojakovic (1,760) but probably not Chauncey Billups  (1,783).
10. Both Rondo and Pierce will become two of fewer than 100 players in NBA history to eclipse 4,000 assists. Meanwhile, Terry could become one of just over 50 players to surpass 5,000 dimes.
9. Pierce’s first steal this season makes him the 39th player in NBA history to reach 1,500 for his career.
8. On the NBA’s career scoring list, Garnett should pass Jerry West  for 15th, Pierce should pass Charles Barkley  for 20th and Terry should pass Jeff Malone for 75th, eclipsing 25K, 24K and 17K career points, respectively.
7. On top of 25,000 career points, Garnett will approach both 14,000 rebounds and 2,000 blocks. He surpassed 5,000 assists last season and could join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  as the only players to reach all four milestones.
6. If Rondo collects 15 triple-doubles this season (6 in 2011-12), he ties Michael Jordan  for 10th in NBA history. After one more playoff triple-double, he moves into second alone on that career list behind Magic Johnson .
5. In five playoff games, Pierce joins the NBA’s top 50 for career postseason contests played. In 10, so does KG.
4. Also trailing Barkley by only 105 points for 25th on the NBA’s career playoff scoring list, Pierce will move into the top 25. And anywhere near the 377 points he scored last postseason would launch him into the top 20.
3. After recording more assists in the playoffs last season than any player not named Magic, Rondo has amassed 845 career playoff dimes, so he will become just the 15th player in NBA history to surpass 900 playoff assists and the 10th to eclipse 1,000. Rondo will also move into the top 25 all-time in playoff steals.
2. Rondo will finish higher in the NBA Most Valuable Player voting than any Celtics player since Bird, and that includes Garnett, who finished third in the MVP race in 2007-08. Heck, Rondo might even win it.
1. Finally, the only prediction for the 2012-13 NBA season that really matters: The Celtics will defeat both the Heat and Lakers on their way to an 18th NBA championship — as many franchise titles as both heated rivals combined.
(Have a question, concern or conception for the next Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach  on Twitter.)