Best and worst Celtics playoff scenarios

The current plan for the NBA restart is to have the normal eight-team playoff taking place in Orlando, Florida. However, this year will host a play-in tournament for the eighth seed in each conference.

The play-in tournament means very little to the Boston Celtics, but the eight games before the playoffs begin are incredibly important; the way these games play out could be the difference between a first-round exit and a finals run for the C’s.

So here’s a look at a few Celtics playoff scenarios fans will both love and dread.

Worst Case

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This is the current playoff picture and unfortunately, it is also the worst-case scenario for Boston.

Having to potentially play the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, and Milwaukee Bucks in their path to the finals would be absolutely brutal and nearly impossible.

Those three teams are all top six in defensive rating with the Bucks and Raptors being number one and two.

The Celtics are currently three games back of the Raptors so making the leap to the second seed is highly unlikely only having eight games to catch up. On the other side, the Sixers and Pacers are currently tied at 14 games back of first place so there’s still hope for avoiding all three of those teams.

Best Case

Milwaukee Bucks vs Washington Wizards

This round is more of a formality that no one will want to watch outside of the Bucks fanbase.

The reason the Nets aren’t in this spot is because they currently have COVID-19 cases piling up and are having players drop out of the NBA restart entirely. This coupled with Kyrie Irving’s injury would force them to take the court with someone like Tyler Johnson as their point guard. As it stands, the Brooklyn Nets are at risk of falling out of the playoffs.

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Either way, these teams are fighting to be glorified roadkill.

Boston Celtics vs Orlando Magic

Now, I’m not saying Boston would have no chance against the Sixers, in fact, they would be the favorite in that series most likely. However, the Celtics have had their struggles against the 76ers this season with Philly winning three of the four matchups so if there is a chance of avoiding that potential headache, especially with what we know is probably to come, Celtics fans would be better off hoping for the Magic as their first-round matchup.

Toronto Raptors vs Indiana Pacers

This is actually an interesting series because both the Raptors and Pacers have similar identities in the way they are both defensive-minded teams who play extremely hard.

I don’t mean to discredit the Pacers because they were on a tear before the NBA shut down, but the Raptors are simply a more talented and better-coached version of the Pacers. The Raptors should win this series fairly easily.

Miami Heat vs Philadelphia 76ers

This would be the most interesting matchup of the first round. The Miami Heat own the season series 3-1, including a 31-point annihilation in their most recent matchup.

Coming into the season, despite the lofty expectations for the Sixers, there were some question marks about how their offense would function with their lack of spacing, and there is no worse matchup to exploit that weakness than the Miami Heat.

The Heat have an emerging star in Bam Adebayo; he’s deceptively agile for his size, freakishly athletic, and extremely strong. All of these things make him the perfect person to anchor Erik Spoelstra’s zone defense.

If the 76ers can’t get into the paint they will be forced to take the only open shots available – three-pointers, and if Philly has to depend on their three-point making ability, they’re doomed.


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