Things are not looking good for the Celtics' hope of attaining a higher seed for the Playoffs. My hope was that we would be competing with the Knicks for the 3rd seed by the end of March given our relatively easy schedule. Alas, that ship has sailed, at least until April when anything can happen in barely watchable games. Why? Because the Celtics just cannot learn to take their weaker opponents seriously.
“I told our guys at halftime, you could see it in the middle of the second quarter. We went from being a solid, just good-looking basketball team, to ‘Showtime.’ And I believe in the basketball gods. When you mess with the game, the game messes you up. I thought we deserved it, I really did.
Doc has a point, and that point is a very obvious, frustrating and bizarre one.
This is how weird things are: If you ranked the teams according to their performance against winning teams (i.e. teams with a .500+ record), the Celtics (20-20) would be ranked 4th, only .5 games behind New York and Chicago. This is a very promising performance for the post-season. However, things change drastically when we take into account games against the league's worst 5 teams: Charlotte, Orlando, Cleveland, Detroit and New Orleans.
I'll try to rephrase this as many as possible times so that it hurts more and more. The Celtics are 5-7 against those teams. 12.5% of the Bobcats' wins are against us, and the only team that they blew out by a 20+ point difference is the Celtics. The Hornets swept us, by a plus/minus of +13. The Pistons have a chance to sweep us if they beat us again for the third time. Well, since they beat us by 20 and 15 points already, that is most certainly possible. (Oh, by the way, the Celtics only lost a game by 20+ points three times this year, and the third loss was against the Kings who are also among the worst 10 teams in the NBA.)
Does it hurt yet? Not so much? Well, here's a look at our opponents' record against those five teams: Heat (9-1), Knicks (13-0), Pacers (14-2), Nets (13-0), Hawks (11-4), Bulls (10-3). To rephrase, if the games against the worst 5 didn't count, we would be ranked 2nd behind the Heat.
The teams that we might not have a home court advantage against have all taken care of business. We failed miserably in that department, and that's why we don't deserve a high seed in the Playoffs. It is only fair that teams who consistently play with a sense of seriousness reap more benefits than we do.