Seventh Heaven: Following a 98-93 win over the Detroit Pistons Wednesday (April 3rd), the Boston Celtics secured a playoff spot and will likely be the seventh seed in this year’s NBA playoffs.
Despite an up and down month of March in which the C’s went 8-8 (including a six game losing streak, and losing Kevin Garnett for a few weeks), Boston has managed to will their way into the post-season once again.
Playoff Picture: With the NBA playoffs taking shape, here’s a look at what the Eastern Conference playoff seeding would look like if the season ended today (April 4th):
1) Miami Heat vs. 8) Milwaukee Bucks
4) Brooklyn Nets vs. 5) Atlanta Hawks
3) Indiana Pacers vs. 6) Chicago Bulls
2) New York Knicks vs. 7) Boston Celtics
The C’s would draw the Knicks as shown directly above and would undoubtedly have their work cut out for them. Boston has only played New York a total of three times this season going 1-2 for the season series.
In their win against the Knicks, Paul Pierce posted 23 points with six assists, three rebounds, and one steal, while Kevin Garnett added a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The C’s held Carmelo Anthony to 20 points (which was solid considering he averages 28 points per game) and caused the Knicks to only shoot 40 percent from the field.
In their two losses to New York, Boston allowed Anthony to score a combined 57 points while letting J.R. Smith drop 32 points coming off the Knicks bench. Granted, in both losses the Celtics had multiple players score in double digit figures, however, the scoring combination of Anthony and Smith proved too much in those two loses.
Keys to Playoff Success: Defense will ultimately decide the outcome of Boston’s potential opening round series with the Knicks. If Paul Pierce and company can contain Anthony, who by the way dropped a combined 90 points in his last two games (April 2nd and 3rd against Miami (50) and Atlanta (40)), and hold the Knicks to a low shooting percentage while contesting shots and controlling the boards, the Celtics will have a chance against New York.
If they can’t…it will likely be curtains for the Celtics who will see an early exit if they fail to contain Anthony and the Knicks.
Final Thoughts: In what has been a brutal season for Boston, the Celtics have found a way to overcome injuries and losing streaks to give themselves a chance at a championship. Though it may be a long shot with the Heat, Knicks, and Pacers all looking like NBA Finals champions, the Celtics are in it to win it like everybody else. And when your Boston, you’re never counted out. How do you feel the C’s will fair in the playoffs? Leave a comment below.