The Boston Celtics still are in a place where they technically are jockeying for a better spot in the standings, but their seeding round schedule probably should be looked at largely as tune-up games for the postseason.
The NBA on Friday evening released the right-game seeding round schedule for the 22 teams that will take part in the league’s restart plan. And while the Celtics are immediately faced with playing the Milwaukee Bucks on July 31, the only other major challenges on their schedule are matchups with the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat.
Otherwise, it’s pretty soft.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 26, 2020
To refresh your memory, the third-place Celtics are three games behind the Raptors for second in the Eastern Conference and 2.5 games ahead of fourth-place Miami.
Because of that space, the Celtics largely should consider themselves fortunate. They play enough games against top teams to where they will be challenged, but the schedule isn’t exactly grueling. Sure, they’ll probably get the best version of the Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards, teams that are clawing for a playoff spot, but a put-together Celtics team should be able to handle those teams fine.
Of course though, there’s a lot of room for things to be weird here. Teams will have not played actual games for over four months by the time the end of July rolls around, so who knows what level of preparedness each team is going to be at. Surely this situation is going to provide some weird results — whether that’s in the seeding round or playoffs themselves.
The Celtics never really had any excuses to not be competitive in the restart, and with this schedule that’s even more so. For now, it appears everyone on the team is committed to going to Florida, and they were one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference at the time of the pause. They already are going to dodge Davis Bertans (Wizards), Kyrie Irving (Nets) and Trevor Ariza (Portland), all of whom are not participating in the tournament, and more guys sitting out could come soon.
So overall, the schedule gods worked orchestrated things as favorably as they could’ve for the Celtics. Now it’s up to them to take advantage of it.