When play inside the NBA's Orlando bubble began, the Celtics harbored some thoughts of being able to overtake the Toronto Raptors to claim the second seed in the Eastern Conference — and thus earning a much easier first-round playoff matchup.
But while the C's have split their four games in Florida, the defending champs have rolled off three straight wins (extending their win streak to seven games, dating back to March). So a three-game deficit has ballooned to four and a half games, meaning the best Boston can hope for is the 3-seed entering the playoffs.
Still, a potential second-round playoff matchup between the Celtics and Raptors is looming, which means Friday night's contest between the teams could be a sign of things to come.
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Raptors, which begins Friday at 8 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.
So far, Boston has claimed two of the three meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals this season, including a six-point victory in the home opener in October and a 16-point win in Toronto on Christmas Day.
However, Raptors star Pascal Siakam has missed each of the last two games against the C's, so Friday will give the teams a chance to size each other up at full strength.
NBC Sports Boston has you covered with complete coverage of Celtics vs. Raptors, starting at 8 p.m. ET with "Celtics Pregame Live". Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston, with complete postgame analysis after the final buzzer on "Celtics Postgame Live."
HOW TO WATCH
On TV: NBC Sports Boston
Desktop/Laptop: NBCSportsBoston.com [click here]
Mobile/Tablet: MyTeams App by NBC Sports [download]
ANALYSIS AND REACTION
BEFORE THE GAME: At 8 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Mike Gorman, Brian Scalabrine, Kyle Draper, Kendrick Perkins, Abby Chin, Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.
AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Celtics Halftime Live. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.
AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.
Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.
DURING THE GAME, FOLLOW US