No. 1 seed or not, Celtics focused on playing their game

No. 1 seed or not, Celtics focused on playing their game

WALTHAM, Mass. – Two years ago, Al Horford and his then-Atlanta Hawks teammates steamrolled their way through the regular season and went into the playoffs as the number one overall seed in the East.
Despite it being the greatest season ever in Hawks history, the Hawks were still seen as a notch below the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now with Celtics, Horford finds himself once again leading the charge of a team on the cusp of having the best record in the East if they beat the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow night, or the Cavs lose their regular season finale at home against Toronto.
Regardless of how Boston and Cleveland’s regular season finales play out, the Celtics will still be viewed as the lesser team to the defending champion Cavaliers.
Being slighted in that regard does not phase Horford.
“In both cases, you have to just go out and prove what you’ve done,” he said. “People always going to rely on experience and Cleveland has done it for so many years; or I should say LeBron has done it for so many years. That’s just the way it is.”
James has been to the NBA Finals each of the last six seasons (2011-14 with Miami, and 2015-2016 with Cleveland), and has won three NBA titles in that span.
“So why would you bet against that? For us, we’re not going to get caught in that,” Horford said. “We’re gonna keep working, keep getting better and see what we can do. I feel really good about our team.”
So does Avery Bradley who couldn’t help but chuckle when asked about how the Celtics are viewed despite going into Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee controlling their own destiny to finish with the best record in the East and with it, home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“I mean, we are (number one right now) so it doesn’t matter what people think,” said Bradley, grinning. “We’re the number one seed now. It’s our job to make sure we take care of business tomorrow.”
Head coach Brad Stevens had similar comments when asked about his team and the potential for them to lock up the top overall seed with a win over the Bucks Wednesday night.
“We just play the game ahead of us,” Stevens said. “That’s all we focus on. It is what it is. That’s all we’re focused on, trying to play well.”

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”