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How Costly Was Boston’s Win Over Miami?

Boston’s  101-96 win over Miami on Wednesday night was extremely fun, and if you didn’t enjoy it, you are a heartless robot. The Garden was as energetic as it’s been all season, Rajon Rondo was diming, the 3-pointers were falling and the Celtics’ biggest rival of the past three years left disappointed.

But, as with every other win this season, the looming question remains: What if that win cost the Celtics a shot at a star in the 2014 draft class? So, once again, let’s break down what the win over the Heat did to Boston’s lottery chances.

First, the raw numbers. Each team’s lottery hopes rest on 1,000 ping pong balls. The number one team gets 250, giving them a 25 percent chance at the number one pick and a 64.3 percent shot at a top-3 pick.

Before Wednesday’s game, the Celtics had the fourth-worst record in the NBA, but they were tied in the wins column with the Jazz and the Lakers, who both lost on Wednesday. Fourth still wasn’t ideal for the Celtics — the fourth-worst team in the NBA gets just a 38 percent shot at the lottery — but at fourth, Boston would have an 82.8 percent chance of getting a top-5 pick. That’s important — a top-5 pick would guarantee the Celtics a shot at one of Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, Exum or Randle.

At sixth, the Celtics’ chances slip considerably. For starters, the Celtics can’t get the fourth or the fifth pick, meaning the only way Boston gets a top-5 pick is if it’s in the top three. The Celtics’ chances of getting a top-3 pick with the sixth-worst record? A measly 22 percent. The Celtics actually would have a better chance at slipping to the 8th pick (23.2 percent) than securing a lottery selection, while they would have a 59.9 percent chance of staying right where they are.

It may seem melodramatic to assign so much importance to one win, especially with 15 games remaining. A lot can happen in 15 games, especially since most (with the exception two match-ups with the Sixers) are likely losses. But every win matters doubly from now until the end of the season, and as annoying as it may be to never know exactly what to hope for, it’s going to be a reality until April 16.

Boston isn’t going to have the worst record in the NBA — the Sixers and Bucks have seen to that. But getting back to fourth-worst would do wonders for Boston’s lottery odds. At sixth, Celtics fans — statistically — will likely be staring at a disappointing draft position after an equally disappointing season.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • hax

    At this point, we lost Jabari. Even if Marc Stein thinks the top 2 teams are on drugs and won’t draft him.

    Let’s complete the 1 year rebuild.

    Remember Rose, how bad he was returning after a year? Look at Rondo. Playing with a terrible team, still probably only 90%. Doing the same stats and things he’s always done. He singlehandedly keeps us in games with his brilliant PG play.

    No Parker? Trade the picks for Kevin Love! Flip turned down the 2013 1st overall and Tristan Thompson for Love. But now rumors Love said he’s gone. We can throw them a combination of Sullinger, the 76’ers pick, the clippers pick, our 2 2014 picks. Obviously starting negotiations at a far less generous point. I thought Sully was the guy too but he’s given up on the season, gained weight and hasn’t sniffed a double double in weeks. He’s Al Jefferson to us. Let’s get a Garnett.

    Asik is still a cheap and very gettable starting Center.

    And free agents. Don’t sleep on Carmelo. We can make cap space quick.

    • Mike DK

      Could we get Love and Melo? At all possible?

      • hax

        If The T’Wolves would take Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and more(Joel Anthony?) with some picks.
        Then we real in Carmelo in free agency. We’d have to trade off a lot more cap space though.

  • ibleedgreen

    Your crazy if you’ve already given up on sully. Hes hasnt seen consistent minutes since he hurt his hand thats why bes been in a “slump” and even his “slump” numbers are very solid. When he starts gettjng starter minutes he will thrive once again. Just Look at how well he and rondo meshed together that last game. Forget love, he is a great player but I know sully will mature into a solid starter if not future star, lets see if we can pry carmelo from the knicks. I have a feeling Phil Jackson is going to end up parting ways with melo and we have assets in jeff green, bayless, 1st rounders . melo has superior isolation skills In which he can get his shot off anywhere. Rondo is a strong minded leader and will keep melo in check and keep the ball moving.

  • Gotta be careful with what you deem “the lottery.” The “lottery” isn’t the top 3 picks, it’s a pick in the top 14 (non-playoff teams).

    • hax

      Well the true lottery is the top 3 picks this year. 😀
      Everyone else has to put in big time work to reach their potential.

  • Oldutican

    The NBA faces a potentially ugly situation in the final 2 weeks of the season. Boston, LAL, Utah and Sac have great incentive to lose. I wonder what Adam Silver is thinking.

  • CelticsBIG3

    You can’t dismiss that we still can’t get a great pick. Its a machine filled with ping pong balls. Just like at the casino, anything can happen.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Not to mention giving up Sullinger is absolutely stupid.

    • millionaire

      not for kevin love, dog

      • hax

        +1 double the stats of Sully :p