Celtics' No. 5 seed might not be such a bad thing


Celtics' No. 5 seed might not be such a bad thing

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics said all the right things following their 98-88 win over Miami, a victory that literally did nothing in improving their postseason position.

They went into the game as the fifth-seed and after completing the largest comeback in the NBA this season in getting past the Heat, they were still going into the postseason in pole position No. 5.

And frankly, that’s exactly where they should want to be.

If recent history is any indicator of what to expect, the Celtics have a much better shot at knocking off Atlanta than expected.

Of the 10 playoff series involving a No. 4 versus No. 5 seed in the past five years, all but two were won by the lower seed.

In fact, a fourth-seed has not advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 2012 when – you’ll love this – the Boston Celtics knocked off the Atlanta Hawks in six games.

Rest assured, the Celtics would have loved to have come away with home court advantage in the playoffs and have no one to blame for  not having it, but themselves.

There were a number of head-scratching losses that they can look back on with disappointment, but few stand out like this week’s home loss to Charlotte.

At the time it seemed as though it would be a game that would come back and bite them quickly.

And when the regular season was over and the Celtics found themselves in a four-way tie for third in the East, the Hornets game stood out for all the wrong reasons.

But one of the positives is that the Celtics go into the postseason from a position that in recent years has been a successful one.

After getting swept out of the first round of the playoffs, a trip to the second round this season would clearly be an across-the-board success for this group and a tangible sign of their growth.

So while they are not going into the postseason positioned as well as they would like, being a No. 5 seed - in the past at least - has been a good thing.

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

File Photo

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“[Davis] was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

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And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”