What to watch for as the Boston Celtics’ regular season comes to a close

The Boston Celtics - NOTE Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Boston Celtics - NOTE Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics are most likely going to face the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, so here’s what’s left to focus on as the regular season comes to a close.

Whether they wanted it or not, the third seed in the East is mostly off the table now for the Boston Celtics. That means a matchup with the Indiana Pacers looms in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. We’ll dive deeper into that matchup soon, but for now, let’s focus on what to watch for in the 10 remaining games of the regular season.


Brad Stevens went on the record to say the Celtics would rest Al Horford for a few games down the stretch, and Kyrie Irving said he plans on resting too. With Aron Baynes turning his ankle as well, look for the Celtics to rest at least their veterans a good amount to ensure they’re 100 percent for the playoffs.

This also means more minutes for younger players like Terry Rozier, Robert Williams and Semi Ojeleye. Rozier and Ojeleye may get a good deal of playing time in the playoffs, so getting in a good groove could be beneficial.

Plenty of Pacers

As we mentioned already, a first-round bout with the Pacers is the most likely scenario for the Celtics, but they also have two games against them as well. Both will be important as it will likely be for home-court advantage in the first round. It won’t hurt that the players and coaches will get a good look at their likely playoff opponent, even though by the end of a series fans might be sick of it.

Getting the defense back on track

We know the Celtics as a terrific defensive team, but over their last 10 games they rank 18th in the NBA in defensive rating. I’m confident they are able to turn it on when they want to, but over the last 10 games of the year it’d be good to see them show some good habits on that end of the floor.

Gordon Hayward

Hayward can’t seem to catch a break during his Celtics career. Obviously there’s the catastrophic injury last year, but when it seems like he develops some confidence and puts a few good games together, he suffers a small injury to set him back. The most recent example is the concussion he is currently nursing.

Next. Ainge give injury update on Baynes and Hayward. dark

Hayward should be back this weekend according to Danny Ainge, so that along with the resting Irving and Horford at some point should give him plenty of opportunities to regain confidence before the playoffs. Hayward may be the difference between the Celtics making the Finals or not.