Celtics up to #3 in ESPN's Power Rankings, Cavs fall to 6th

If you're a Boston Celtics fan - and given you're reading this, I'm guessing you are - this week's ESPN Power Rankings are truly a gem to read.

I mean, let's not be too obnoxious in our schadenfreude, but how can you not enjoy an article that - before it even gets to Boston - starts out with lines like:

"If the Cleveland Cavaliers can pull themselves together to repeat as champions after all the March badness they've endured, it'll truly be an NBA first. Our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau have passed along that no team in league history that has ever lost 10 or more games in March -- none of the previous 347 -- has bounced back to win it all. The record high for March losses for an eventual ‎champion, Elias says, is eight."

It's just ice cream on the cake of palpable worry emanating from the Cavs camp akin to much of what I wrote on yesterday (check it out here) on their complete inability to rest players given the hole they have dug themselves into. To their credit, they are taking this rawest of deals and handling it with as much class as anyone could reasonably hope to, but frustrations are boiling over at times and the screws appear to be coming loose.

None of this gloating will be much good without a win tomorrow, though, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.

But, the Cav's self-dug hole is as much a reason they find themselves looking up the World Wide Leader's list at the Celts in third place from sixth as much as because of the games Boston has managed to find ways to win in recent weeks. That depth that more than a few NBA writers dismissed at the start of the season has created the opposite of the Cavs season to date - at least from a rest and success perspective - which Marc Stein notes:

"In securing the club's first 50-win season since 2010-11 and the 32nd in franchise history, tying the Lakers for the all-time league record, Boston did not need to play four of its five starters in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win at Madison Square Garden. The Celts also get the next two days off before playing host to the Cavs in Wednesday night's ESPN showcase game, which also happens to be Cleveland's third game in four nights. The Celts, in other words, might really be in pole position to secure the East's top seed ... as long as they fashion the win over Cleveland that evens the season series at 2-2."

That last bit is the key part, folks. They've got to win for this to matter.

I know what I'll be doing tomorrow night.

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Photo via Deadspin
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