And I'm not talking about in the "they haven't been mathematically eliminated" sense, I mean there is still a legitimate shot Boston might get in the postseason. I don't think it will happen, and I don't believe it'd be in the team's best interests at this point, but it's definitely possible. Here's why:
The Hawks currently occupy the East's 8th seed right now at 26-35, but Atlanta is in an absolute free fall, having lost 14 of its last 15 games. Is the return of Paul Milsap enough to turn them around? Probably not. If the Hawks go 7-14 the rest of the way they will finish at 33-49.
In the 9th spot are the 24-38 Pistons, losers of 9 of their last 11. If the Celtics knock off Detroit at the Garden this evening Boston will be just two games behind them. After that it doesn't seem likely the Pistons will finish better than 8-11, which would put them at 32-50.
The Knicks and Cavs are both 24-40, and for the sake of argument let's assume neither plays better than .500 from here on out, putting them both at 33-49 or below.
The Celtics are currently 21-41, if they closed the season on a 12-8 run they would end up 33-49 as well. They could get there by by beating Detroit today, and following it up with other home victories vs the Knicks, Suns, Raptors, Bulls, Sixers, Bobcats, and Wizards, as well road wins at Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. Is that likely to happen? No. But those are certainly all games Boston is capable of winning. And if they do they'll hold the tiebreakers over Atlanta, New York, and Cleveland, and grab the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference at 33-49.
If the C's can get by the Pistons tonight, I bet you'll hear mentions of the word "playoffs" starting tomorrow.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on twitter @LucidSportsFan Mark Van Deusen 3/09/2014 02:05:00 PM Tweet Edit