Celtics should have their eye on the sixth seed. Yes, No. 6.
Awesome (fake) St. Paddy's Day t-shirt.
In case you haven't noticed, the Celtics are pretty good right now. They've won five in a row, the longest streak of Brad Steven's NBA career and the second-longest in the league at the moment (the Jazz have won six straight, and are 9-1 in their last 10. Utah's lone loss? In Boston).
Stevens called Cs "connected" tonight. Often a term he uses to describe good teams. Not sure I'd ever heard him use it about his own team.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 17, 2015
Yes, it was against the lowly 76ers, but yesterday's dominant 108-89 wire-to-wire victory marked a rare easy win for Boston:
#Celtics coach Brad Stevens noted last time vs. Philly were up 26 and lead got down to 3. Never got closer than 16 tonight.
— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) March 17, 2015
The Celtics, Pacers and Heat are all 30-36, tied for the seventh, eighth and ninth spots in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets are half a game back at 29-36. Two of those four teams are likely to make the playoffs.
But, lurking just four games in front of the pack, are the sixth-seeded Bucks at 34-32. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but it's absolutely within the frame of possibility that the Celtics catch Milwaukee. Here's how:
For starters, Boston is 14-6 in it's last 20 games (tied for the fourth-best record in the NBA since February 2). That's nearly 25 percent of the season that the Celtics have been playing .700 ball.
On the other hand, the Bucks are 4-9 (.308) since they traded away Brandon Knight at the deadline. Boston and Milwaukee each have 16 games remaining, two of which are head-to-head. Should the C's win both of those, they'd clinch the tiebreaker and only have to make up two more games over the final 14.
That could happen if the Celtics went 8-6 and the Bucks 6-8, or even 7-7 and 5-9. The key is the pair of head-to-head matchups. The first comes in Boston on April 3. The second is on April 15 in Milwaukee, the final regular season game of the year. There's a legitimate chance the No. 6 seed could be on the line that day at the Bradley Center.