Morning Wrap: Who will C's host in playoffs?
Morning Wrap: Who will C's host in playoffs?
BOSTON -- Now that March Madness is behind us, we have April Angst for a lot of NBA teams in some serious heavyweight games with playoff implications.
None looms as big as tonight’s game between Boston and Cleveland who are currently tied for the best record in the East.
One of the undercard battles pits the Miami Heat against the Charlotte Hornets who are duking it out for the eighth and final playoff slot.
Meaningful matchups are being played out West as well, with Memphis hosting Oklahoma City battling for the sixth spot and with it, avoiding Golden State and San Antonio in the first round. The Denver Nuggets, 0.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot, are on the road against Houston which looks to be lock up the No. 3 seed with a win over Denver or a Utah loss.
But for our purposes, the focus is on the Celtics and who they might wind up facing in the first round. Here’s a morning wrap up on the likely contenders that whose postseason will begin in Boston.
MILWAUKEE (40-38), FIFTH
It shouldn’t be long before the Bucks will not be on our list due to their record solidifying them as the No. 5 or 6 seed in the East. Despite three of their last four on the road, Milwaukee’s talent will allow them to win at least another game or two which is all they’ll need really to avoid facing the No. 1 or 2 seed in the first round.
UP NEXT: Thursday at Indiana.
ATLANTA (39-38), SIXTH
There may not be another team that’s tougher to get a read on, than the Atlanta Hawks. Despite their struggles, this is not a team the Celtics would like to see in the first round. Boston would still win the series, but there are others that the Celtics could potentially see and not have to work quite as hard to put away. Finishing the season with five games against playoff-caliber opponents, not to mention playing two sets of back-to-back games to close out the season, no one should be shocked to see them slide one or two spots.
UP NEXT: Thursday vs Boston.
CHICAGO (38-40), SEVENTH
They suffered a bad loss at New York (100-91) on Tuesday, but are still in great shape to quality for the playoffs and potentially move up a spot or two. They have a cushy schedule, but the problem they have is the teams they face aren’t very good but play extremely hard – something the Bulls haven’t done as much of this season as they should have. To be where they are and have the schedule that they have remaining, not making the playoffs should be deemed an absolute failure for them.
UP NEXT: Thursday at Philadelphia.
INDIANA (38-40), EIGHTH
It has been an up and down season for Indiana, and yet they control their postseason destiny. They have the eighth and final playoff spot now, but holding on to it won’t be easy. This is the time when Paul George has to do more than just elevate his game, but also the play of those around him.
UP NEXT: Thursday vs Milwaukee.
MIAMI (37-40), NINTH
The Heat have a pretty rigorous schedule to close out the season, but that’s not all that different than what they’ve faced most of this season. There are many pulling for the Heat to get in, in large part because of the job head coach Erik Spoelstra has done with a team that on paper at least, looks a lot worse than a lot of teams that have already been eliminated from the playoffs. If they can get Dion Waiters back for one of these last couple games, that would be a huge boost to a Miami team that seems as though they could use just a little extra something to close out the season and get one of those last playoff spots.
UP NEXT: Wednesday at Charlotte.
CHARLOTTE (36-42), 10TH
First off, congrats to assistant coach Patrick Ewing being named the head coach at his alma mater, Georgetown. He put his time in and was more than deserving of a shot at being a head coach. As for the Hornets, they’re in a battle just to get on the playoff bubble at this point. With four games left, anything less than three wins will likely lead to them being out of running.
UP NEXT: Wednesday vs Miami.
DETROIT (35-42), 11TH
The numbers say they are still a playoff contender, but their play of late tells a much different story. Detroit has lost six of its last seven, with three of the losses coming by three or less points. The Pistons’ inability to close out close games will come back to haunt them in the offseason which for them will likely begin moments after they play Game No. 82.
UP NEXT: Wednesday vs Toronto.