Celtics

Celtics

The Boston Celtics don’t want to admit it, but they’ve had to do a lot more scoreboard-watching of late than they would want to. 

When you lose games you’re not supposed to in the middle of a playoff push, that happens. 

But Saturday’s 117-116 overtime win over Toronto did more than just get the Celtics back on a winning track. 

That victory coupled with losses by Miami and Brooklyn on Saturday, has the Celtics (35-42) back in the eighth and final playoff spot. 

And with that, the Celtics once again control their own destiny regardless of what other teams are doing.

There’s no mistaking that the Celtics will be challenged with a schedule that ranks among the toughest for those teams in the playoff mix with them. 

But here’s the thing.

Boston has shown a remarkable will to win of late, particularly when it comes to teams that on paper at least, should be better them. 

At the very least, Boston is managing to give itself a chance to compete which is one of the first steps required for any team looking to squeak their way into the playoffs after a horrendous start. 

And the teams that they are competing with have their share of issues to contend with down the stretch. 

Miami (34-42) is led by Dwyane Wade, but there’s no telling when his balky knees will force him to sit out or play at less than full strength and effectiveness. 

 

And while the Heat do close out the season with four of their final six games at home, four of those teams – Indiana, Charlotte, Chicago and Toronto – are clubs that are either in the playoffs or fighting to get in. 

No gimmes for the Heat. 

Brooklyn’s six-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday by an Atlanta Hawks team that blew them out on Saturday. 

Those two will meet once again before the season ends. In fact, five of Brooklyn’s final six opponents will be in the postseason. Milwaukee hasn't clinched yet, but it's a matter of when - not if - they will officially be in the postseason. 

Indiana is hoping the return of Paul George will give them a necessary boost to get into the postseason. 

Considering he has been off for so long, it’s hard to imagine he’ll come back and resume playing like one of the game’s top 10 performers. 

Charlotte is still mathematically in the playoff picture but with Al Jefferson less than at full strength, the Hornets might as well get ready for another trip to the NBA lottery. 

So at this point, Boston’s stiffest competition to get into the postseason is likely coming from Miami and Brooklyn with Indiana potentially being there to the very end. 

But at this point, it doesn't matter what those other teams do. 

The Celtics and their play will dictate their postseason fate, not the success of other teams.