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Celtics In Good Position to Move Up in Standings

 

The Eastern Conference playoff picture is like a perfectly crafted S’more turned on its head.

Miami and Milwaukee serve as the stout graham crackers (definitely not store brand) providing the structural integrity for the whole seeding system.  They are definitely not going anywhere. (Besides, there isn’t a person on this earth that enjoys inverse S’mores.  Why get your hands covered in gooey marshmallow if the S’more is going to taste the same?  If you comment that you like inverse S’mores, I will provide free advice on how to make better life decisions).

Indiana is a perfectly broken, four-rectangle chunk of Hershey’s chocolate.  It’s possible they could be placed next to Milwaukee without affecting the taste, but it just wouldn’t feel right.  They are exactly where they’re going to be.

That brings us to the marshmallow center.  Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York have the molecular structure of a ‘mallow heated for maximum gooeyness.  As the S’more is being constructed for its formal scarfing on April 20th, these pieces of the gooey center are going to slip and slide all over each other before finally settling into place.  Trying to predict that final settlement is an arduous task filled with guesswork and educated speculation.  One is unlikely to come out of this prediction without sticky hands.  Luckily, I’m up for the challenge.

As you can see from the graphic above, Boston currently resides in the 7th seed, Brooklyn in the 6th, Chicago in the 5th, Atlanta in the 4th, and New York in the 3rd.  The graphic also indicates the results of a very fortuitous weekend for the Celtics.  Yesterday, the Bulls, Hawks, and Knicks all lost.  On Saturday, the Bulls won but they beat the Nets so it was impossible to lose that game if you’re a Celtics fan.  Friday was also a day where the sun shined on the Green as the Hawks and Nets both lost.  The Knicks may have narrowly edged out the Wizards on the road, but the Celtics took care of business by stymying Steph Curry and winning big against the Warriors.

Three out of the five Eastern Conference teams that make up the ‘mallow are no better than .500 over their last ten games.  Boston and Atlanta are the only teams with positive records, both at 6-and-4.  We can see that no one team is playing incredibly well, so it’s safe to assume that the actual gooey center seeds, or GCS, are up for grabs.  These GCS’ are so malleable that seven games that graphic above could look very different. Let’s break down the next 7 games for each team and see if we can make some predictions.

KNICKS: @Cleveland, @Detroit, vs. Oklahoma City, vs. Utah, @Golden State, @Denver, @Portland

PREDICTED RECORD: (4-3)

The Knicks face some tough competition in their next seven games, with big ones against OKC and Denver.  Despite the fact they’re getting OKC at home, I still think they lose this game.  Their other two losses will come somewhere in some machination of those last three games  Personally, I think they’ll beat Golden State and then lose to Denver and Portland.  The Knicks are better than the Blazers, but they’re playing that game in the Rose Garden on the SEGABABA.  It’s as close as a schedule loss as you’re going to be guaranteed.

HAWKS: @Denver, vs. Philadelphia, @ Boston, vs. Brooklyn, @ Miami, vs. Lakers, vs. Suns

PREDICTED RECORD: (2-5)

The Hawks have an awful stretch coming up.  I would have predicted a “quality” win against Brooklyn, but they face them on the SEGABABA and have to travel home from Boston that morning.  They should beat the Sixers and the Suns but I don’t see how they get past Denver, Boston, Brooklyn, Miami or the Lakers.  Oh did I mention the Lakers game, the same team they lost to last night, is another SEGABABA following Miami? Poor birds.

BULLS: @San Antonio, vs. Utah, @Los Angeles Lakers, @Sacramento, @Golden State, vs. Denver, vs. Portland

PREDICTED RECORD: (4-3)

The Bulls face their equivalent of the C’s west coast swing.  It’s not as bad as the Atlantic coastal teams given that Chicago is more west.  This allows them to mix in some home games during this stand.  That said, I see them losing to the Spurs, Lakers, and Denver.  Perhaps I’m over-valuing Denver by predicting that everyone will lose to them.  Only time will tell, but I just think that team is awesome.  The Bulls take care the Kings and Blazers and get nice wins against Utah and Golden State.

NETS: @Charlotte, vs. Washington, @Atlanta, @Philadelphia, vs. New Orleans, vs. Atlanta, @Detroit

PREDICTED RECORD: (3-4)

The Nets will have a strong start, taking care of the Bobcats, Wizards, and Hawks before incurring some bad losses.  They’ll lose a toss up to Philadelphia on the road.  Since losing to Philly, a fringe playoff team, isn’t a bad enough loss, I see the Nets losing to New Orleans and Detroit and then splitting with Atlanta.  I don’t believe in this team at all and they are going to have to prove they can take care of business.

CELTICS: @Philadelphia, @Indiana, vs. Atlanta, @Oklahoma City, @Charlotte, vs. Raptors, vs Bobcats

PREDICTED RECORD: (5-2)

The C’s face Indiana and Oklahoma City on the road and let’s face it, these are two really good teams.  It’s not awful to expect them to lose to these teams.  It may be awful to expect them to win each of the other games in this sequence.  The C’s have been known to earn bad losses this season so it could be unreasonable to expect that they will, to keep using the cliche, take care of business.  However, I’ll choose to be positive.

THE SHAKE OUT

Now that we have each team’s win-loss record for their next seven games, it’s time to put those predictions into an MIT super computer to get the future standings.

Beep, Bop, Boop, Boop, Beep.

1. Miami

2. Indiana

3. New York

4. Chicago

5. Celtics

6. Nets

7. Hawks

8. Milwaukee

A lot can happen after this seven game stretch to continue to alter the playoff picture.  I also could be horribly off in my predictions.  However, I don’t think anything I predicted was unreasonable and thus, it is reasonable to think that the Celtics could be sitting in the fifth seed seven games from now.  A far more delicious seed than 7th.  For now, all we can do is sit back and wait to see how it all unfolds.

  • KillerGymRat

    Great post and nice predictions, Brendan.

    I personally think Chicago might go 3- 4 or even 2 – 5. I think you're right about the predicted losses but I would add in one or two more against GSW, Portland, or Utah. Chicago is really overachieving this season. Their D is awesome, but their offense is terrible. And this most recent stretch Noah has been playing ridiiculous (a rare blocks tripple double, and 19 blks in 3 games). He's due for a let down and to start playing back to his averages and the teams the Bulls are facing all need to start piling up wins or they risk being bounced from the playoffs. Desperate teams plus a drop in defensive production should lead to a few additional losses.

    Kinda crazy when you realize it's totally plausable that Boston could grab a 4 seed.

  • janos

    if a devote work hard i see open playoff home and avoids miami until finals is best us yesterday stay home watch thunkder clapper game and was not impress thunder that much we can beat them on final if make no mistake

    • http://CelticsHub.com Brendan Jackson

      You're right, Janos. The C's will have to be perfect if they're going to beat those teams but they can definitely still do it.

  • asdf

    The nets schedule is far more easy

    • http://CelticsHub.com Brendan Jackson

      It is SO easy the rest of the way. It's crazy how easy it is. That said, Brooklyn is probably the one team in the Eastern Conference that I don't trust to actually win their winnable games.

      • check12check

        they are bad, but they aren't THAT bad. i think the numbers should be flipped to 4-3. I don't believe in the nets either, but their competition in that stretch is a miserable collection of teams

  • Josh_5

    I love your gooey S'more analogy for the standings. Intellectual creativity at its finest! I may be getting too aggressive here, but as the teams above us come down to Earth I'm really entertaining the idea of us winning the division.

    • janos

      i was not know this talk so ask son and he explain to me but i still dont understand i just tell him thank you he was also not know how i was talk for nba but i say yes is nba.

  • tbunny

    Assuming they won't be the 2 or 3 seed, is there a seed 4-7 that avoids Miami until conference finals?

    • hydrofluoric

      Seeds 2, 3, 6, and 7 don't see the 1-seed 'til the ECF. Assuming we don't make it to #2 or #3, we're probably looking at Indy and NYK in some order for rounds 1 and 2. Not exactly murderer's row, but it's always tough being the road team in a playoffs matchup.

      • High Rollers

        Hmm… this will probably change, but I'd like the following: Celts to face Nets, then Heat, then Indy. Nets are a mess. The Heat will have a hiccup somewhere along the way, and it's much more likely in the middle of things, a.k.a. the second round. And I don't believe Indy believes in itself enough to go all the way to the finals, despite their size and defensive advantages.

        • hydrofluoric

          ^ That would require us to make it to the #4 or #5 seed and for Brooklyn to outlast Chicago and Atlanta.

          I took a look at the rest of our schedule and could see us going 16-8 realistically (with unexpected L's in Philly and to Detroit, maybe, but also some nice wins against Indy and Memphis and NYK). That would leave us with 47 wins, which would definitely not overtake NYK (they'd need to go 12-14 the rest of the way) but could easily place us in 4th or 5th. Brooklyn might find it tougher to hang in there.

          • High Rollers

            Thanks for the breakdown. Obviously it's a distinct line developing between desirable and plausible.

            I do like that the team doesn't worry about seeding in the slightest. It wouldn't be the KG Era Celtics otherwise.

            Could you update this in seven days?

  • High Rollers

    A first round tussle with the Bulls (and Rose?) is both intriguing and a little nauseating. Fitting, considering the roller coaster we've already fairly conquered so far in the regular season.

    On a side note, I like that they're calling Bradley something along the lines of Coach Zero Tolerance. I wonder if Drill Instructor was his Plan B…

    I agree that the S'more analogy is fantastic.

    And the S.I. article on Rondo is available for viewing online. Read it. Thoroughly enjoyed it. The Celtic Wizard never rests. No surprise there.

  • High Rollers

    Nationally televised game tomorrow night. Finally! I want to see everybody, especially the newbies like T-Will. What are we working with here?

  • Nathan

    I think this is a strange year where the 7 seed in the East isn't more desirable than the 5 seed. In both cases the Celtics wouldn't have home court advantage. And while the Pacers are a stronger team than whoever ends up as the 4 seed, the longer the Celtics can go without facing the Heat the better. If they end up as the 5 seed, they have to face them in the second round. If they finish as the 6 or 7 seed, there's one more round they have to go without facing them, since the Heat are clearly the class of the east.

    • kg215

      Yup the 6th seed and 7th seed are significantly better than both the 4th and 5th seed. Got to avoid Miami in the 1st/2nd round.

  • KillerGymRat

    Of all the paths, I think the C's need to luck out and somehow not face Indiana. I know we beat them, but they remind me of a more threatening version of Philly last year. They have gritty D, a huge rebounding edge, a deep bench, lots of young athletes and reliable inside scoring with the ability to run. They're the kind of team that even if you do beat them, is going to drag it out for seven hard fought games and leave you feeling it in the next round.

    I believe struggling against Philly last year through a long series was a big reason we had a hard time closing out the two overtime games and the tank ran empty in game 6 and 7 against Miami.

    Bring on Chicago, NYK, ATL or Brooklyn…they're all waiting for an early playoff exit.

  • Run Tommy Run

    As long as Green, Bradly and Wilcox continue to step their games up I see the 4th seed.

  • Ther Cardinal

    6th seed is realistic and where I would want us to be (of course I would love us to be the 2nd or 3rd seed, but that would be tough to jump over 4 or 5 teams). The 6th seed would play the 3rd seed and if we prevailed, we would play the winner of the 2nd seed vs. the 7th seed. Win that one and we wouldn't see Miami (or the team that upset them) until the Conference finals.

  • chris m

    I want to play the Knicks in the first round. Beating those clowns would make my year and anything past that (upset of the Pacers) would be candy.

  • check12check

    sorry to have to ask, and I am pretty much up on my basketball "speak", but what in the world is a SEGABABA?

    • High Rollers

      Second game of a back-to-back.

      And it's dreaded when you're key guys are in the the 35 and over club.

      But really, when you have Doc for a coach and pretty much a full roster, it's not so dreaded.

      Except for last year's lock-out shortened season, no SEGABABA action in the playoffs.

  • james patrick

    Am I crazy to think we have a shot at the #3 seed?

    • kg215

      Not completely but the other teams we are competing with all have best players who are younger. We can definitely beat a couple of these teams out but 3rd means we beat all of them out. The crazy thing is if we can't get 3rd seed, we might as well stick to the 6th seed. The winner of the 4th/5th matchup has the privilege of facing Miami.

    • IRS

      Not completely; I give the Celtics have a very good chance of catching any of these teams singly (except perhaps NY–but despite its gaudy record, they are struggling and Anthony's troubles should not help). But as always, when given a choice, bet on the field; it is probable that at least one of the four vulnerable teams will itself get hot to put its place out of reach.

  • idywild

    Milwaukee isn't that far back from Boston, if there is an unexpected losing streak for the C's. Things won't look good, but hopefully that won't happen.

  • crizikbleedinggreen

    Why do we want to play the Bulls in the first round? Let's "protect" the seventh spot in the standings in order to play Indiana in the first round, a team we can beat more easily regardless of home court advantage. The same goes being the sixth and playing the Knicks. If Boston ended up being the 5th seed and somehow beat Chicago, then it will face Miami in the second round. In other words, I see the C's getting to the Conference Finals more easily being the 7th seed rather than the 5.

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