The Celtics clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday night, without having to do virtually anything. The Bulls and Pistons both lost on Tuesday, helping the Celtics punch their ticket into the playoffs. Holding on to the 2nd seed as of right now, Cleveland has a better record than them right now; but no by much. The Celtics are 1 game behind Cleveland, while Washington whose 3.5 games behind Cleveland, is sitting on the 3rd seed. Out of the remaining games left in the season, the Celtics have the easiest schedule out of the 3 top teams fighting for the number 1 seed.
This brings up the question of whether the Celtics could be the favorite to come out of Eastern Conference. With a healthy roster, a MVP candidate in Isaiah Thomas, and a coach whose rebuilt this team after the departures of the big 3; you have to think that they’re poised for a postseason run to the Finals.
It’s possible; but the only team stopping the Celtics, in my opinion, is Cleveland. Cleveland is starting to get healthy again. With Kevin Love coming back from injury, JR Smith is slowly making his way back into the lineup, and Lebron and Kyrie show no sign of slowing down. When healthy Cleveland can be a dangerous team and rightfully so; having hands down one of the best players in the world and having practically an All-Star lineup with Love, Kyrie, and Korver. They’re trying to keep up with Golden State; going for a round 3 in the NBA Finals.
Cleveland for the last few years has ruled the Eastern Conference and they seem to only get better every year. Washington, Toronto, Atlanta, etc. don’t really scare me whatsoever; in a 7 game series we could take them. But Cleveland in a 7 game series, I’d have to toss a coin on that. I’m not saying the Celtics are bad/will get swept by Lebron and Co., they just aren’t on “Cleveland’s level” yet. They’re missing the piece that can get them there; whether they get that player this off-season is the question. They can compete against Cleveland, give them a run for their money. The Celtics, as of late, have been doing well and are starting to click on all cylinders. As for Cleveland, they’re hitting some bumps; losing to teams they should beat and Lebron questioning “the toughness” on their team.
If I was a betting man, which I’m not, I’d put money on the Celtics. Not because I’m a Boston sports fan, but I believe the Celtics can clinch the #1 seed, which is huge, and because they’re playing great basketball right now. In a 7 game series the Celtics can make it very interesting for Cleveland, I just think Cleveland always heavily rely on their Big 3; not as a team as whole. The Celtics have a great defense with Crowder and Smart leading it, Hordford can be a threat when hot, and Thomas has been leading this team since Day 1. Sure they have a few games that don’t go their way, but Brad Stevens always fixes their game-plan and makes them focus on the next game. That’s how the Celtics have been all season.
The Celtics are ready to make a postseason run, and boy will it be interesting.