The Boston Celtics will be playing with house money in the coming weeks, according to one writer’s assessment of their situation.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps claimed Wednesday night the Celtics don’t have much at stake as they prepare to resume their 2019-20 NBA season with hopes of making a deep run in the NBA playoffs. He believes the Celtics are primed to challenge for Eastern Conference supremacy and the NBA Finals not only this season but also in the coming campaigns.

“Oddly, not a lot,” Bontemps wrote in describe what’s at stake for the Celtics. “Boston is good enough to make a deep playoff run and could even reach the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade. But for a team with a young core under contract through next season and beyond, this should be far from Boston’s final shot at making noise in the postseason.”

The Celtics currently are in third place in the Eastern Conference standings, trailing the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. Although Boston might be able to overtake Toronto for second place, ESPN projects a third-place finish and a second-round elimination from the NBA playoffs is the most probable outcome to the Celtics’ season.

Motivation will be key to any team’s success inside the NBA bubble. If the Celtics have enough of it, they might exceed the expectations of ESPN and some less-than-bullish pundits.

The Celtics will face the Bucks on Friday night in their first game after the NBA restart.

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