What a difference a week makes.
At this time seven days ago, the Boston Celtics were 0.5 games behind the No. 2 seed Raptors in the NBA's Eastern Conference and seemingly poised to pass Toronto, which had lost three straight.
Fast forward to Monday morning, where the Celtics find themselves a full three games behind the Raptors and just 1.5 games up on No. 4 seed Miami Heat with 19 games remaining.
East Standings (as of March 9)
1. Milwaukee Bucks, 53-11
2. Toronto Raptors, 45-18 (7.5 games back)
3. Boston Celtics, 42-21 (10.5 GB)
4. Miami Heat, 41-23, (12 GB)
5. Indiana Pacers, 39-25 (14 GB)
6. Philadelphia 76ers, 38-26 (15 GB)
7. Brooklyn Nets, 29-34 (23.5 GB)
8. Orlando Magic, 29-35 (24 GB)
Current East Playoff Matchups
If the season ended Monday, the Celtics would draw a first-round playoff matchup with the 76ers, who have beaten Boston three out of four times this season.
Needless to say, the No. 7 seed Nets -- who are without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant and just fired head coach Kenny Atkinson -- would be a more favorable draw.
But the Celtics have their work cut out for them if they want to avoid Philly. Here are the next three games for Boston, Toronto and Miami:
Celtics: at Indiana, at Milwaukee, vs. Washington
Raptors: at Utah, vs. Detroit, vs. Golden State
Heat: vs. Charlotte, vs. New York, vs. Chicago
The Celtics will need to beat a tough Pacers team and the juggernaut Bucks to snap out of their funk. If they lose both? It's very possible the Heat could overtake them for the No. 4 seed by week's end with three home games against cupcake opponents ahead.
The Raptors, meanwhile, have won three in a row and don't have the hardest schedule in front of them, either.
That's all to say the C's need to step up in a big way this week against Indiana and Milwaukee to avoid sliding further in the East playoff race.
We'll end on an optimistic note, though: The sportsbooks still view Boston as a serious title contender. Westgate Superbook's latest odds peg the Celtics at 20/1 to win the 2020 NBA championship, tied with the Raptors for second-best in the East.
NBA Championship updated— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) March 9, 2020
Trail Blazers 100/1
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Pacers-Celtics, which begins Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.