After losing a huge Friday night game to the Bulls, the Boston Celtics could now be destined for the play-in Tournament. They will have some tough games ahead and will have to win the majority of them to sneak out of the play in tournament.
For those who are unaware of what the play-in tournament will be like, here is a quick overview. In a season shortened by 10 games, the NBA has decide that there will be a tournament to decide seeds 7 and 8 of both conferences. Once the season is finished, seeds 7 and 8 in each conference will play each other. The winner of that game will be the seventh seed and the loser will have one more chance to get in.
The 9th and 10 seeds in both conferences also play each other. The winner of this game gets to play the loser in the 7th and 8 seed game. Whoever wins this game will be the 8th seed in the playoffs. So essentially, the 7th and 8th seeds need to win one game to get into the playoffs, and the 9th and 10 seeds have to win two games to get in.
Boston will most likely play in this tournament. However, the last five games of the season could go many different ways. Here is an outlook at the last few games of the season.
The Celtics Road Ahead
Sunday 5/9 & Tuesday 5/11 Heat (36-31) at Celtics (35-32)
The Celtics wrap up their season series with the Heat by playing them in two games straight at TD Garden. Ahead of this game Boston has received some positive news as it looks like Jaylen Brown will return Sunday. Brown who suffered a Knee injury and did not play in the last two games for Boston is having an incredible year. Brown is averaging 24 points a game on 48 percent shooting from the field and 39.7 from downtown, with 3.4 assists per game, all career highs.
For Miami, Victor Olidipo will continue to sit out after a dunk injury back in April that has landed him on the sideline since. These two games are extremely important for both teams as the winner of this series will likely be the 6th seed. Expect the Rematch of the Eastern Conference finals to be nail biting and everything but boring.
Wednesday 5/12 Celtics at Cavaliers (22-46) and Saturday 5/15 Celtics at Timberwolves (20 and 47)
After losing Andre Drummond, the Cavs have now become this pit of misery that occupies the 14th seed in the East. However, the Cavs have come away with some sneaky wins this year. This could be an easy win for Boston and will be a must win game to get out of the play-in tournament if they lose one or two to the Heat.
Minnesota sits in the same place as the Cavs and is in need of a few more pieces in order to contend for a title. At 14th in the west they will have another chance at the top pick in the draft through the draft lottery.
The problem for the Celtics in these games is that they really don’t know what kind of team there gonna be one day to the next. Some days it feels as though they can beat anyone and the next day it feels like they could lose by 30 to the Rockets. If Boston can bring some competition these should be easy wins for the C’s.
Final Game of the Season
Sunday 5/16 Celtics at Knicks (37 and 30)
The Knicks have been an absolute force this year. Julius Randle who has been in the MVP conversation this year, has brought the Knicks to fourth in the East. New York has played at a level that shows they will will contend in this years playoffs. This game Between Boston and New York should be close.
The season series has been split one game a piece so this will be a huge game. If both teams end the season with the same record, the winner of this game will get the higher seed. This game will surely live up to the hype and it will be great matchup to rap up the season.
Boston goes 4-1 and grabs the Fourth seed:
With Jaylen Brown coming back this should give Boston the extra motivation and talent they need to win most of these games.
They will most likely drop one to the Heat at least. If they can win those next two easy games and sneak out an underdog victory against the Knicks then they may be able to grab a high seed.
It’s very ambitious but Boston no doubt has the ability to grab the fourth seed and contend in the playoffs.