The Boston Celtics started their season off strong and took the lead atop the Eastern Conference. Since then, the C’s have gone through some struggles finishing games, especially recently following multiple second-half breakdowns against teams such as the Nets, Knicks, and Cavaliers.
As of now, Boston sits as the 2nd seed in the East and two games behind the Bucks for the first seed. So, if the playoffs started tomorrow, who would the Celtics play in the first round?
The play-in game will be the ultimate decider for these matchups as well. In this scenario, the Heat (7th seed) and the Hawks (8th seed) will have to battle it out for a win-and-you’re in game. The winner will take the No. 7 seed and have to play the Celtics in round one, and the loser will have one more chance to secure the No. 8 seed with a matchup against the winner of the battle between the No. 9 seed and the No. 10 seed.
The Boston Celtics could face Miami in an Eastern Conference finals rematch
The Heat are currently the 7th seed with a 35-32 record. Miami has had their own struggles up to this point. The Jimmy Butler-led squad has underperformed this season and has yet to figure out their winning formula.
This would be an Eastern Conference Championship rematch in the first round if these two teams match up. The Celtics and Heat are tied at 2-2 in the season series this year, so this wouldn’t be as easy a matchup as many may believe. Erik Spoelstra will certainly have his group ready to play come playoff time.
However, the Celtics won’t shy away from the challenge. Boston has championship aspirations, and to them, the Heat would be just the first block on the road to the finals. Nonetheless, this would be a duel to watch in the first round between the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown vs. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
The Boston Celtics could face Al Horford’s old team
Al Horford’s first home in the NBA, the Hawks, are currently the 8th seed with a 33-33 record. Following their flurry of offseason acquisitions headlined by the Dejounte Murray trade. Atlanta’s lackluster start led to the firing of head coach Nate Miller, but now the Hawks are being led by a well-respected coach in newly hired Quin Snyder. The former Utah Jazz head coach could turn the team around and put them in position for a playoff run with the young talent at his disposal.
Atlanta has the pieces to give any team a run for their money, but has yet to be able to put everything together. With the duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, the Hawks have the potential to steal any series if they play to their potential.
The Celtics and Hawks have only played one game up to this point in the season, and Boston came out on top with a 126-101 win. The Celtics know how dangerous Trae Young can be from past experiences, so they won’t take this matchup lightly if it were to happen. Joe Mazzulla will be ready to have his team’s offense firing on all cylinders and its defense playing as a whole come playoff time.
Although the final seeding is far from being finalized, this is how the start to the Celtics’ playoff run could go if the season ended today.