Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers would prefer to have Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce at full strength, rather than see Boston go into the postseason as complete underdogs. With the health of their stars in question, though, the Celtics have some of the most intriguing NBA odds in the sportsbook.
In late January, superstar Rajon Rondo, undoubtedly the Celtics’ most valuable player, went down with a season-ending knee injury. At that point, Boston’s playoff hopes were in jeopardy, but Pierce and Garnett managed to change that. Since then the Celtics have climbed as high as the middle of the East bracket, within reach of home court advantage in the first round.
Heading into the final two weeks of the regular season, Boston is seventh, with 50-1 odds of winning the NBA championship.
In order for the veteran club to capitalize on its second-half momentum and depart on yet another deep playoff run, the Celtics will need Garnett and Pierce to play less like 37- and 36-year-olds and more like future Hall of Famers.
They are, of course, both, which makes them such a puzzling bet option — especially considering the games they’ve missed down the final stretch. While Pierce has been plagued by a number of setbacks, particularly a banged-up ankle, Garnett’s foot ailment kept him out of eight games in March and April.
Expect Rivers to be extremely cautious with the veteran duo as the regular season comes to an end. As long as the Celtics can hold on to the No. 7 spot or higher in the East, there’s a distinct possibility that they could reach at least the second round. The club that finishes eighth will have to answer to LeBron James and the Miami Heat (10-13 NBA odds).
On the docket for the Celtics this week are two big games against top three opponents, the Brooklyn Nets and Heat. After that, they’ll face the Orlando Magic on the weekend. Catch a glimpse of the action for a good idea of what to expect from this team in the postseason.