With the loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night that had major playoff implications on the line when it comes to seeding, even the most optimistic fan has to look at the reality of the situation that the Boston Celtics now face. Essentially down two games to Atlanta, Boston now has to win one of the two remaining games at the TD Garden to have a chance of locking up home court in the first round, with both opponents in each game gunning for the fourth seed in the East. How the next few days play out will determine who the Celtics play and ultimately just how far this team goes.
The Miami Heat, who currently hold the fifth seed in the East, would be Boston’s first round matchup. A nightmare scenario for Celtics fans, as the Heat are battle tested with highly skilled veterans and young players who are more than capable of impacting games. The addition of Joe Johnson further adds to the threat Miami possesses, and with their experience, they’re going be a very difficult team to play, no matter what seed they get. It’s very possible that if the seedings remain where they are, Boston could be bounced in the first round. Miami isn’t a team you want to see in the playoffs, and right now, it would be wise for teams to try avoiding them at all costs.
The Heat’s remaining games are against the Magic, Pistons, and Celtics. Not easy games by any stretch as the Magic defeated Miami in their previous matchup, Detroit is fighting for control for the 7th seed, and the Celtics should play with energy as they want to send a message to their possible first round matchup.
The Charlotte Hornets are that feel-good story of the year. A good team, but not built for late runs in the postseason. While they can be dangerous, they would be a more ideal matchup for Boston, and we’ll get a better idea of how tough they are when the Hornets visit the Garden on Monday.
Charlotte’s remaining games are against the Wizards, Celtics, and Magic. The next three games for both the Hornets and Heat will be very interesting. The way Charlotte has been playing as of late, it would not be surprising if they snuck into the 5th spot in the East. There’s a lot of variables heading into next week, and anything can happen as nothing is set in stone.
Needless to say, no matter what transpires over the next four days, Boston’s playoff run could be cut very short as the Cleveland Cavaliers are more than likely going to be the Celtics next opponent, should they advance past the Heat or Hornets. It’s at that point when memories from last season’s sweep come to mind, and the odds of beating the Cavaliers in a 7 game series doesn’t look that favorable.
Right now, maybe as Celtics fans, we should take a step back, look at the odds facing this team, and just enjoy the next few weeks. It’s been a very fun season, one in which was a step in the right direction. Boston has the assets to make a huge splash in the offseason, and whether the Celtics go deep or not, there’s a lot to look forward to heading into the draft.