When the groups for the NBA’s In-Season Tournament were announced last month, it was apparent that the Boston Celtics had gotten a favorable draw. They’ll be battling the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, and Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference’s Group C.
On Tuesday afternoon, the NBA announced when those matchups would be happening.
Boston’s group-stage schedule is as follows:
- Friday, Nov. 10: Nets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
- Friday, Nov. 17: Celtics at Raptors, 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 24: Celtics at Magic, 2:30 p.m., NBA TV
- Tuesday, Nov. 28: Bulls at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
The Celtics’ Group C appears to be the lightest of those in the East. Toronto, Chicago, and Orlando all missed the playoffs last season. Though Brooklyn did earn a playoff berth, the brunt of the winning was done while Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were still in town.
There’s no reason that Boston shouldn’t finish at the top of their group, there just isn’t.
How can the Boston Celtics actually win the In-Season Tournament
In order for the Boston Celtics to take home the inaugural “NBA Cup” trophy, they’ll either have to finish at the top of their group over the course of those four early-season games. They can also advance by having the best record of any other non-group winner in the East, which would clinch them the wild-card spot.
If Boston was to move on, then they’d find themselves in the knockout stage of the tournament. At that point, they’d take on one of the four other East teams remaining in a single-elimination game. Should they win that, they’d play the victor of the East’s other knockout battle, as part of the tournament’s semi-final, which will be held on Dec. 7 in Las Vegas.
Another win would land the Celtics in the final, also to be played in Vegas on Dec. 9.
The new “In-Season Tournament” should be interesting at the very least. The NBA is seemingly rolling it out in an effort to add higher stakes to early regular-season matchups and get fans excited about games in the fall and early winter.