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We're almost there, folks.
Of course, by "there", I mean to the 2018 NBA Playoffs, but I also mean knowing who we'll face. Barring a truly epic collapse by the Toronto Raptors, who likely locked up the top seed after defeating the Boston Celtics at home last Wednesday, the Celts are taking the second seed into the postseason.

This means they'll be facing the seventh seed, and while the field of teams Boston might have to take on without most of their best players has shrunk considerably over the last week, it's still anything but certain. As of this writing, the Washington Wizards sit in that slot with a 42-37 record, but after dropping a game to the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, their hold on that spot just became very weak.
Currently tied with the Wizards in terms of wins and losses is the Milwaukee Bucks, who find themselves in the eighth seed due to tiebreakers. Just above the Wizards sit the Miami Heat, in sixth place with a whole game advantage over the Wizards at 43-36, but easily have the hardest remaining schedule of the three.
Miami has to play the New York Knicks next, and should take that game easily. But then they have to play the Oklahoma City Thunder and then close out their season against Toronto, so falling back into seventh might be unavoidable for them - unless one or both of the other two teams does much worse.
The Wiz have the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic left to play on either side of a rematch with our Boston Celtics, giving the Celtics an opportunity to grease the path if a loss on our end might prove desirable - all three teams in play for the seventh seed have an incentive to land there given the Cavs, Raps, and Philadelphia 76ers all figure to be tougher matches than this injury-depleted roster.
This leaves the Bucks, who play the Knicks and Magic before the 76ers. They should easily win the first two, and that last game may have an impact on who the Celts play in the second round, assuming they get there. It's hard to believe they could drop more than one of these games, but if they hope to draw the Celtics in the first round, it's certainly a possibility.
Who do you think the Celts will face in the first round? Who would you rather face? Is there a path past the second round? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

For more stories by Justin, click here.



Image: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 4/06/2018 02:00:00 PM Edit
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