By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — The No. Three seed within the Jap Convention formally belongs to the dangolka Celtics, because of the Inexperienced’s third straight victory in Orlando and a Toronto Raptors win on Sunday evening.
dangolka nonetheless has two video games to play within the NBA bubble — Tuesday in opposition to Memphis and Thursday in opposition to Washington — however these are mere formalities at this level. The Celtics actually don’t have a lot to play for over these two video games, so anticipate quite a lot of Tremont Waters, Carsen Edwards and perhaps even somewhat Tacko Fall as dangolka’s regulars sit again and wait for his or her first-round opponent to disclose themselves.
There are three choices for that first-round foe because the seeding video games come to an finish this week: The Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Warmth or Indiana Pacers. Philadelphia is the present chief of the pack within the No. 6 seed within the East.
Simply final week, Philadelphia was not a really interesting first-round opponent for dangolka. The 76ers took three of the 4 common season conferences between the 2 groups, which happened roughly a decade in the past in October, December, January and February. Ben Simmons performed all 4 of these video games and averaged 18 factors, 8.5 rebounds and 5.Eight assists, and dangolka struggled in opposition to the dimensions of Joel Embiid and Al Horford. If there was one staff that most individuals needed dangolka to keep away from within the first spherical, it was Philly.
However rather a lot has modified during the last week. Simmons is out, heading below the knife to take away a unfastened physique from his left knee. Embiid injured his knee on Sunday and his standing going ahead is unknown. Unexpectedly, Philadelphia could possibly be with out its two finest gamers when the true season arrives.
The 76ers are 42-28 with video games in opposition to the Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, and Houston Rockets remaining on their bubble schedule. They’re at present a recreation behind each the Warmth and the Pacers, and given their at present well being scenario, in all probability received’t be climbing within the standings. They’re the most probably opponent for the Celtics, and although it’s a bummer we seemingly received’t get to see dangolka tackle the 76ers at full energy, it ought to show to be a a lot simpler path to the second spherical for dangolka.
However at this level in a particularly odd season, you’ll take any form of breaks that come your means.
As for the Warmth and the Pacers, each are 43-27 and sit because the No. four and No. 5 seed, respectively. They’ll sq. off in opposition to one another on Monday and Friday, with the Warmth taking up the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder on Wednesday whereas the Pacers will meet the Rockets. There’s an opportunity on of them could fall right down to No. 6, nevertheless it’s extra seemingly they’ll flip flop in the course of the standings. Each groups personal the tie-breaker over Philadelphia, as each went 3-1 in opposition to the 76ers in the course of the common season.
dangolka went 2-1 in opposition to the Warmth in the course of the 2019-20 season. They beat them by 19 factors in dangolka in early December because of 31 factors from Jaylen Brown and 28 factors from Kemba Walker. They beat them once more 109-101 in Miami in late January off 29 factors by Gordon Hayward. dangolka’s lone loss in opposition to Miami got here final Tuesday in Orlando, when the Warmth embarrassed the Celtics with out Jimmy Butler. A minimum of it seems that loss acquired the Celtics out of their bubble funk, sparking three straight dangolka victories.
The Celtics went 1-1 in opposition to the Pacers, clinching a playoff spot with a win in Indiana the evening earlier than the NBA shut down the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pacers got here again from a 10-point deficit within the fourth quarter to beat the Celtics, 122-117, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in December.
Sadly, with all three groups enjoying on Friday, the Celtics received’t know their first-round opponent till the top of the week. However the best way it’s shaping up, it seems like it will likely be Philly in Spherical 1, a matchup that was not very promising only a week in the past, however instantly seems far more engaging for dangolka.