The Boston Celtics have a strong chance of coming out of the Eastern Conference with the second seed in the Playoffs. It’s a task easier said than done.
The Boston Celtics are currently only one game behind the impressive Toronto Raptors for second place in the Eastern Conference. Both teams face off against some of the heavy-hitting teams in the NBA before the end of the regular season, including one more battle against each other near the end of March.
Both the Celtics and Raptors will each play against nine teams with winning records down the stretch of the regular season. While the Celtics will face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, and the Milwaukee Bucks, the Raptors will be up against the Pacers, the Heat, and the Bucks in back-to-back games right before the season ends.
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If the Celtics can continue to stay on the winning path that they paved for themselves during the month of February, then they will easily take control of the second seed in the East and put themselves in a great position for the playoffs. A task that is easier said than done, yes. But the only thing standing in the way of the Celtics running through the East, is in fact just themselves and their own health.
The second seed in the playoffs becomes highly valuable to any team, as you can avoid the top-ranked team in the conference until reaching the Conference Finals. In the East, that would mean avoiding the best team in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. Not to discredit any of the teams edging into the playoffs, but the second seed would be the easiest route to the Conference Finals for the Celtics to go on in the playoffs.
So let’s say the Celtics can beat out the Raptors and secure the second seed in the East, they would likely be playing the Brooklyn Nets or the Orlando Magic with home-court advantage starting at the TD Garden. Although the Celtics were just defeated by the Nets in one of their most recent games, it’s safe to say that neither the Nets or Magic are going to make a big splash in the playoffs or get out of the first round.
If the rankings were to remain the same as they are now and the Celtics lock up the third seed, they would have a daunting opponent in the first round that could do some serious damage to the Celtics’ playoff hopes. Those teams include the Pacers, the Heat, and the Philadelphia 76ers, who all have a winning percentage over .590 this season. Even the fourth seed in the East is going to be facing just as intimidating an opponent.
It all comes down to the final stretch of the season and how well the Boston Celtics can finish out their strong season. Considering how the schedules work out, the Celtics have a really strong chance of gaining a lead over the Raptors for second place in the East before the season even ends. The only way for the C’s to do so is by having their entire roster on hand, which at the moment, they do not.
It’s safe to say the easiest route to the Eastern Conference Finals for the Boston Celtics is through the second seed in the playoffs. The C’s are going to need their entire roster to get truck through the playoffs, and even more so when they face off against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Conference Finals, who happen to be favorites to win the NBA Finals.