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.