With the Cleveland Cavaliers blowing a 26-point lead to the Atlanta Hawks last night the Boston Celtics hopes at claiming the #1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference have remained intact. Lebron James fouled out in overtime and and the Hawks were able to pull out a 126-125 victory at home. James played 47+ minutes in defeat before being ejected on a phantom foul that put a smile on my face for all the times he gets these calls himself:
Bron fouled out on this. pic.twitter.com/BlhvwZcvK2— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) April 9, 2017
The Celtics have now pulled even with the Cavs for 1st place, although Cleveland holds the tiebreaker since they won the season series between the two. While the Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets tonight in Boston the Cavaliers will face off with Lebron's old squad tonight in Miami, fresh off last night's tough loss.
The Celtics need Cleveland to drop one of it's final two games and they'll need to win both of theirs if they want to claim the 1-seed. Their best shot at a Cleveland loss may be with Miami tonight as Toronto may have nothing to play for Wednesday night and beating the Cavs would line them up for a 2nd round playoff matchup with the defending champs rather than the Celtics, a team they match up pretty well with.
The good news on that front for the C's is that Cleveland may be looking to rest some of their starters tonight, including Lebron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love after last nights extended minutes:
Cavaliers apparently planning to sit Big 3 tonight in Miami, possible punt on No. 1 seed @clevelanddotcom https://t.co/NwkxbauURS— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) April 10, 2017
Also that Miami Heat team is also fighting for a spot in the playoffs as they are currently tied the the Bulls for the 8th seed but find themselves on the out looking in due to a tiebreaker disadvantage. So there's certainly some huge motivation to win on their end.
The Celtics would still have to win their games if Cleveland were to lose one of their final matchups, and although the Nets have finished at the bottom of the NBA they have been playing inspired basketball to close out the year. Milwaukee also poses as a formidable opponent in their season finale, but it's also very possible that the Bucks final game is meaningless to their playoff positioning and could be a day of rest for their stars.
Pretty wild that the Celtics are in this position after it seemed a long-shot to overtake Cleveland after that blowout last Wednesday night in Boston, but here we are. The Celtics don't quite control their destiny here, but they've got a pretty decent shot.
Photo Credit - Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 4/10/2017 02:44:00 PM Tweet Edit