As recently as January, the Warriors were on record as viewing the Celtics as the most likely team to make it to the Finals out of the Eastern Conference. But after a recent development, Boston's chances of making it that far have taken a significant hit.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart will miss at least the first two rounds of the playoffs with a torn oblique, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Marcus Smart has suffered a torn oblique on left side and could be sidelined for the first two rounds of the playoffs, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 10, 2019
It's a considerable loss for Boston, as Smart ranks fifth on the team with an average of 27.5 minutes per game this season. In addition to his 8.9 points and 4.0 assists per contest, Smart brings an intensity and toughness to the Celtics that they will certainly miss during his absence.
As the East's fourth seed, Boston will face the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. That'll be the first step in what just became a much tougher path to the Finals. It remains to be seen if either the Celtics or Warriors will indeed make it that far, but at this point, you'd have to give one side a substantially greater chance of getting there than the other.