By: Cristofer Zillo
Things are getting tight in the Eastern Conference standings, like we knew it would. The Celtics have a chance to snatch the #1 seed from the Cavaliers this year, and it might just happen. The Wizards beat the Cavs Saturday night, putting the Celtics at .5 GB. What's wrong with the Cavs? Yeah they're stacked, but they have no chemistry at all. This is a problem. LeBron knows it. The NBA knows it. Now is the time where chemistry should be it's highest in preparation for the Playoffs. The Celtics, as of late, have shown tremendous chemistry--despite letting Booker drop 70 the other night. Of course, the entire NBA ignored the fact that Bradley, the Celt’s best defender, was out. I won't get into that. Even if the Celtics grab the #1 seed, does it even matter?
From a pride standpoint, securing that #1 spot would feel so sweet. Finally the Celtics would be Kings of the East, and they deserve it. We know they do. However, not many people realize how tight the bottom half of the Playoff picture is in the East. Chicago, Detroit, and Charlotte all have the potential to sneak in before the end of the season. So, it's hard to say right now who exactly will own the #7 and #8 spots by the end of the season.
If the season ended right now, the Celtics would be playing Paul George and the Indiana Pacers, or as we like to say, an “EZ Dub”. We swept the season series against these guys, and to me that translates to a sweep in the Playoffs. Get out those brooms folks. It's sad that PG13 has to put this team on his back on a nightly basis. I’ll be honest though, they do have some nice young talent. Myles Turner has some insane potential. He’s got great speed, fantastic shot blocking ability, and a nice midrange jumper. Indiana also has Glenn Robinson III, the NBA’s reigning slam-dunk champion. The man has bunnies. Young talent doesn't really get you Playoff wins, though. This series would be an easy one for Boston.
If the Celtics did get the #1 seed, they could be playing the Miami Heat in the first round. Obviously the Celts would win this series too, but I don't think it would be a sweep. This team is physical and they play with tons of heart. Hassan Whiteside is approaching an elite level and with him on the court, any player fears driving to the basket. Goran Dragic might be one of the most underrated players in the NBA. This year he's averaging about 20 points and 6 assists per game, and he's shooting about 42% from beyond the arc. Dion Waiters, as much as I hate to say this, is also a key player for the Heat. I’m not sure how his injury will affect his chances of playing or his effectiveness, but his recent late-game heroics have been noticeable. Even though a Celtics-Heat matchup in the Playoffs has produced exciting series in the past, a matchup this year would be far less exciting. I would predict Celtics in 5.
As I said before, the race for Playoff spots in the East is crazy, so evaluating matchups would be essentially useless as of right now. However, if the Playoffs started right now, I would personally rather have the Celtics keep the #2 seed and demolish the Pacers. It would be best to avoid teams like Chicago and Miami, who I think would give the Celtics the most trouble, if any, in the first round. Regardless, this Celtics team is a team of destiny and can handle anyone in the NBA in a 7 game series. Yes, I said any team. We’ve got something to prove.