The Boston Celtics have close to a coin flip’s chance of entering the NBA playoffs on a high.
ESPN’s NBA Basketball Power Index projected the Celtics’ chances of finishing the regular season with the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs at 44.7 percent Thursday. The Celtics are in third place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 42-19 record, trailing the second-place Toronto Raptors by only one game. ESPN’s BPI projects Toronto’s chances of clinching the second seed at 55.3 percent.
The 53-9 Milwaukee Bucks are a virtual lock to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference. ESPN’s NBA insiders explain why the No. 2 seed is vitally important to those teams hoping to make a deep run in the NBA playoffs.
“Falling to No. 3 in the Eastern Conference would mean a likely first-round matchup with either the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers or Miami Heat, so this is a key race for the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors — currently separated by just one loss,” ESPN wrote.
“Our panel likes Toronto and BPI agrees, but FiveThirtyEight prefers Boston.”
The BPI measures a given team’s strength and attempts to predict its performance for the rest of the NBA season.
The Celtics will play 21 more games between Friday and April 15. Their March 20 visit to the Toronto Raptors might be the most important if the teams remain in a dead heat for that second seed in the coming weeks.