Before the NBA stoppage, the Boston Celtics were sitting three games behind the Toronto Raptors for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Looking at the remaining eight games on the schedule for both teams, let’s see how Boston can sneak into the two seed.
When looking at the Boston Celtics’ remaining schedule, fans can only be happy. In the upcoming eight-game stretch, they’re slated to play Milwaukee, Toronto, and Miami, three tough opponents. Besides that, however, the rest of their schedule is contained with below-.500 opponents: Portland, Brooklyn, Memphis, Orlando, and Washington.
As for Toronto, their schedule looks a little bit tougher.
They face only two below-.500 opponents, Orlando and Memphis. The rest of their schedule shapes up with several powerhouses, including Lakers, Miami, Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Denver.
With this slate, the Raptors have the second hardest schedule in the NBA restart, only slightly behind the Heat. On the contrary, Boston’s schedule ranks 3rd easiest out of the 22 teams.
Currently, the Celtics hold the tiebreaker in the head-to-head series, leading 2-1. Therefore, if they want any chance at the second seed in the conference, they’ll first have to defeat the Raptors in their matchup. Hypothetically, if they accomplish that, they’ll be two games behind while controlling the tiebreaker.
The Celtics should be favored in at least six of their eight upcoming games, meaning it’s completely plausible for them to finish out the season 7-1. As for the Raptors, they should be favored substantially in about half of their games, making it a realistic possibility for them to finish 4-4. With this outcome, the Boston Celtics would finish the year second in the conference.
The Cs are also benefiting from the order that they play their opponents in.
For instance, their last game is slated to be against the Washington Wizards. However, with the Wizards coming into the restart 5.5 games back of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, it’s quite possible that by the end of the eight-game stretch, they’ll have nothing to play for. This could also be the case for other teams, as their seeds will already be locked up.
Now, with no homecourt advantage benefits included, you may be asking yourself: why is the second seed so important?
Currently, the top six teams in the Eastern Conference are separated by 8.5 games from the 7th seed, the Brooklyn Nets. By becoming the second seed in the conference, the Celtics would face the Nets or Magic in the first round, as opposed to having to face the Pacers or 76ers, two much more intimidating opponents to start things off with.
With this, the Boston Celtics, despite already securing a playoff spot, should fight for the second seed in the conference.
Where do you think the Celts will land in the final regular-season standings?