What it is going to take for the Boston Celtics to advance in the NBA In-Season Tournament

The Boston Celtics don't have the easiest path to the quarterfinals of the NBA's In-Season Tournament, but they can still get there -- here's how.
Boston Celtics v Orlando Magic
Boston Celtics v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The Boston Celtics have their work cut out for them as they head into Tuesday’s In-Season Tournament finale against the Chicago Bulls. After dropping last week's meeting with the Orlando Magic, the Celtics no longer control their own tournament destiny.

On top of needing to pummel the Bulls in the group-stage finale, they'll also need a help from a few other teams around the association, regardless if they advance via winning Group C or by earning the Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

How can the Boston Celtics win Group C?

In order for the Cs to come out on top of Group C, a massive win over Chicago is a must. Fans should be rooting for Boston to pour in as many points as possible before the final buzzer (assuming that they win), no matter how mant they are up by. The extensive need for excessive scoring is due to the NBA using point differential as a key tiebreaker in the tournament.

As of Tuesday morning, Boston’s is at a zero — 22 points behind the group-leading Magic, who boosted their differential against the Cs on Friday. Even if the Celtics manage to overtake Orlando, that won’t be enough to win the group because they lost the head-to-head matchup, which is used as the primary tiebreaker.

They’ll also have to rely on the Brooklyn Nets to claim victory over the Toronto Raptors to create a three-way tie at the top of Group C. The Nets’ point differential is currently +8, so the Celtics will have to not only beat the Bulls by 23 points but also win by at least eight more than Brooklyn.

How can the Boston Celtics clinch the In-Season Tournament wild card?

Boston's paths to the quarterfinals are diverse when it comes to doing so through the wild card.

Of course, a hefty win over Chicago remains a must.

Once that's accomplished, the Celtics would benefit from losses by the Nets, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks, and the Miami Heat.

Though losses would be nice, they're not technically mandatory. Boston just needs to erase the gap in point differential between themselves and whoever they wind up tied with. That gap could range anywhere from six (Cleveland) to 18 (New York).

For more on the In-Season Tournament, check out the latest episode of "How 'Bout Them Celtics" where Jack Simone and I break it all down.