Celtics

Loss to Sixers pushes Celtics closer to 4/5 playoff matchup with Pacers

Loss to Sixers pushes Celtics closer to 4/5 playoff matchup with Pacers

The Celtics' 118-115 loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia put a serious dent in the C's hopes of catching the Sixers and taking over the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The C's (43-29) fell four games back of the 76ers (47-25) with 10 regular-season games remaining and are currently in the fifth spot in the East, a game behind the Indiana Pacers (44-28).

Now, Boston's final two games against Indiana, next Friday, March 29, at TD Garden, and April 5 in Indianapolis, loom large if the C's want to surpass the Pacers and gain the No. 4 spot and home-court advantage in a 4 vs. 5 first-round series with Indy.

Despite losing  All-Star Victor Oladipo for the season to injury on Jan. 23, the Pacers have stubbornly held on to the four or five spots by going 13-11 in his absence. With the C's likely locked into a 4/5 first-round matchup, who starts the series at home and plays a possible Game 7 at home will likely come down to their late-season head-to-head meetings.

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Terry Rozier's prediction for Celtics-Bucks series: Plenty of trash talk

Terry Rozier's prediction for Celtics-Bucks series: Plenty of trash talk

Barring the greatest upset in NBA history, the Boston Celtics will get the chance to catch up with some old friends in the second round.

The Milwaukee Bucks, up 3-0 on the Detroit Pistons in their first-round series, need one more win to set up a date with the Celtics, who ousted them last season in a hotly-contested first-round series.

And if you ask Terry Rozier, this year's rematch will be just as hotly-contested.

"We're just gonna make it tough (for them)," Rozier said Monday morning during an appearance on ESPN's "Get Up." "We'll try to be the harder-playing team, and we're looking forward to that matchup.

"We're looking to bring some excitement to this game -- and some trash talking. A little fun."

Rozier, if you'll recall, was in the thick of last year's trash talk thanks to his beef with Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe. Rozier happily fanned the flames of his back-and-forth with Bledsoe, showing up to games in an old Drew Bledsoe Patriots jersey to troll the Bucks point guard.

Rozier likely won't play as big a role on the court this series; he averaged 17.6 points per game in last year's series while filling in for starting point guard Kyrie Irving but has taken a backseat to Irving in the 2019 playoffs. But if Rozier has to play the role of instigator again, he'll happily oblige.

"As you all know, it's part of the game. So, it's going to happen," Rozier said of the jawing that goes on during playoff games. "I feel like if you love basketball, you love the competitive spirit of it, you're going to talk a little trash, you're going to have a little fun.

"... Nobody wants to lose. We definitely don't want to lose. So, whatever it takes next round."

The Celtics still have to wait for Milwaukee to dispatch Detroit -- Game 4 is Monday night -- so until then, please enjoy the best of the Rozier-Bledsoe beef:

       

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Kyrie Irving boasts some mind-boggling playoff win percentage stats

Kyrie Irving boasts some mind-boggling playoff win percentage stats

There are three constants in life: Death, taxes and Kyrie Irving winning first-round playoff games.

The Boston Celtics completing their sweep of the Indiana Pacers on Sunday means Irving still hasn't lost a first-round playoff game in his NBA career, moving to a perfect 16-0 over four series sweeps between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Celtics.

If you think that's unprecedented ... it is.

The Milwaukee Bucks took the Celtics to seven games in the first round last year, but Irving was sidelined with a knee injury. Before that? The All-Star guard helped power the Cavs to first-round sweeps in 2017, 2016 and 2015 (over the Celtics).

Irving's remarkable playoff success isn't limited to the first round, however. Get this: With a 50-game minimum qualifier, Irving has the highest playoff percentage of any player in NBA history (now .768 after Sunday's win.)

If you're looking for some fun (and totally apples-to-oranges) context, Irving's winning percentage is also higher than that of the best quarterback in NFL history.

Of course, Irving benefited from having LeBron James on his team during three consecutive NBA Finals runs from 2015 to 2017. But the Robin to James' Batman still was pivotal to Cleveland's playoff success. After Irving injured his knee in Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals, the Cavs lost three of their next five games to fall to the Golden State Warriors. The following year, however, a healthy Irving buried the game-winning 3-pointer in Game 7 to lift Cleveland to an NBA title.

So, when Kyrie kept saying he couldn't wait until the playoffs and raved about the Celtics' potential once the "real games" started, it turns out he had some proof to back up his boasts.

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