Ok, so it's just a half game lead. But, so what -- Boston has sole possession of the No. 1 seed again after a six year drought!
The Celtics' four-game win streak put them in the position to potentially gain control of the top seed, and after Cleveland lost to the Wizards and Boston beat the Heat, the two squads were tied. On Monday night, though, LeBron and the Cavs got whooped by the Spurs on national TV. This gave the C's the No. 1 seed for the first time since March 2011:
The Boston Celtics lead the Eastern Conference for the first time since March 22, 2011.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) March 28, 2017
1. Boston 48-26 ---
2. Cleveland 47-26 ½
When is the last time a team had the top seed and the draft rights of the worst seed? Has it ever? Danny Ainge and the Celts have done an unreal job at asset allocation which has allowed them to capture the No. 1 seed while having the best odds at the top pick, preserving tons of cap space, and keeping ample young players:
Updated standings pic.twitter.com/eWELiwM3ju— CelticsLife.com (@CelticsLife) March 28, 2017
Ainge was nearly crucified by some for not making any trades over the summer or at the deadline this February, but who's complaining now? Of course anything short of making the Finals will ignite the critics, but being the No. 1 seed without trading away any valuable young players or draft picks is impressive, and not they get to reap all of the benefits of tanking while being the No. 1 seed. How rare is that?
Celtics might be the #1 seed and have the top pick in the draft. Sheesh.— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) March 28, 2017
This has been such a quick turnaround. The Celtics are still supposed to be in rebuild mode, yet look where they are. CelticLife's Josh Coyne remembers how questionable Boston's future looked a short three years ago:
Just in case any #Celtics fans forgot, this was the roster 3 years ago. Now #1 seed in the East with multiple lottery picks and cap space. pic.twitter.com/ofOLWFI8kb— Josh Coyne (@poundcoyne) March 28, 2017
The lone players remaining on the Celtics from this roster are Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk. I completely forgot about half of this squad!
So yea, it may only be half a game. And yea, it may not even hold until the end of the season (although the Celts are expected to hold onto it). But damn it, I am proud either way considering how the Celtics got to where they are now from where they were three years ago.
Follow Erik Johnson on Twitter: @erikjohnson
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images Erik Johnson 3/28/2017 11:17:00 AM Tweet Edit