The Boston Celtics have been a uniquely frustrating group of men this season, and their fate is deserved.
With Wednesday’s loss to the awful Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics are locked into the play-in tournament.
Right now, the Celtics own the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Winning out in their final two regular-season games would allow them to secure that seed for the postseason without needing the Charlotte Hornets or Indiana Pacers to start losing games. But if there’s anything we can count on this season, it’s that the Celtics can’t be counted on to win consecutive games.
So, here’s what to know about the play-in tournament.
— The tournament is double-elimination for the seventh and eight seeds, and single-elimination for the ninth and 10th seeds.
— The first games will be 7 vs. 8, and 9 vs. 10.
— In the 7 vs. 8 game, the winner is locked into a playoff spot and will be the seventh seed, regardless of record. The loser, will go to the eighth-seed game.
— In the 9 vs. 10 game, the loser is eliminated and out of the postseason. The winner goes on to face the loser of the 7 vs. 8 game.
— At that point, the eighth seed and, thus, final spot in the playoffs will be decided in a game between the loser of the 7 vs. 8 contest and the winner of the 9 vs. 10 game.
Now that we made that sufficiently confusing, here’s a graphic the NBA made that probably illustrates it better.
Basically, the Celtics would make things easier on themselves if they lock in the seventh or eighth seed. If not, they’re playing a winner-take-all game against the Wizards (or potentially Bulls).