Without a shadow of a doubt, the Boston Celtics are on the rise and stand a great chance of reaching the postseason. At the time of writing, Boston have a 34-25 record and sit third in the Eastern Conference – an impressive feat considering their tough schedule. The Celtics aren’t the complete package just yet but there are plenty of positive signs and it’s certainly an exciting time to be a Boston fan right now. Here’s why the Celtics can and will reach the playoffs this year.
Since winning the NBA Championship back in 2008, the Celtics have struggled to keep pace with the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors. This year, Boston might not be in that elite bracket but have definitely shown they can compete with the NBA’s top-rated clubs on their day.
They took Golden State to overtime but fell agonizingly short and have already beaten Miami this season. Since the All-Star break, Boston have been incredibly inconsistent however, and must regain their focus as the business end of the season approaches.
“Boston Celtics” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Keith Allison
If they can regain their early season form, Boston are playoff contenders if nothing else. With Golden State on the verge of a record-breaking season, it will take a minor miracle for anyone to beat the defending champions.
Having said that, Boston won’t necessarily judge this season as a failure if they don’t win the Championship. A place in the postseason will suffice and at the time of writing, 32Red Canada price Boston at 4/1 to win the Atlantic Division and guarantee a playoff spot. However, they can still reach the playoffs if they finish second to Toronto – something that could happen.
Boston have a relatively kind schedule and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Celtics win the majority of their remaining matches. As with most playoff candidates, their home form will be the key to reaching the postseason. So far, they’ve been very strong at TD Garden and it would take a brave man to back any side on Boston’s home patch.
The Atlantic Division is fairly weak and Boston should take advantage of fixtures against the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets as they seek a playoff berth. The top eight ranked sides in the Eastern Conference will feature in the playoffs and with the Celtics currently sitting pretty in third spot, they look well placed to achieve their goal. Anything more is just a bonus…
As of February 26th, they have a five-match advantage over eighth-placed Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets, who are owned by the legendary Michael Jordan, are one of the NBA’s most improved sides and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Charlotte sneak into the postseason, especially on current form. However, Celtics supporters should keep the faith – it’s still in their own hands.
Boston mustn’t get complacent in the coming weeks or they may slip further down the rankings. Boston fans don’t seem too worried though and who knows, they may even go on to reach the latter stages of the postseason if they hit top form in the playoffs. Pundits have cited their upturn in fortunes on the road against Western Conference opposition as a major catylst for their current Eastern Conference position.
CELTICS ON THE ROAD VS. WESTERN CONFERENCE
Last 20 games: 10-10
Previous 23: 0-23
— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) February 22, 2016
While the Cleveland Cavaliers remain in control of the Eastern Conference, Boston can still cause a few shocks in the playoffs. Ultimately, the Conference title may come down to a head-to-head fight between the Celtics and LeBron James’ men but it would be foolish to dismiss the Toronto Raptors. The Atlantic Division remains up for grabs but Toronto are a very dangerous basketball team. If Boston take them lightly, they will lose.
If Cleveland take them lightly, they will lose. Toronto tend to slip up in the postseason but write them off at your peril. The Celtics certainly shouldn’t think it is a two-horse race in the East and 32Red and NetBet currently price the Raptors at 7/1 to win the conference this season.
So, will Boston reach the playoffs? On current form, it may be tricky but if they can get back to their best, they will cruise to the postseason. From there, anything can happen – it quite often does…
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