The Boston Celtics still have major playoff implications against the Wizards
The Boston Celtics are completely locked into their spot as the number two seed in the Eastern Conference, but their games are far form meaningless. They still have to think about getting such a young and unsettled roster ready for the playoffs, and who they play in the first round could make all the difference.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Washington Wizards are still all possible candidates in the first round, and what happens against the Wizards tonight could help settle a lot. The Wizards are on the verge of falling too far behind as the eight seed, with the Bucks having a game and a half lead and the Heat having half a game advantage.
Any victory of loss could transform the order of those three, and the Celtics have a lot of control with this head to head match up. It is really difficult to tell which team the Celtics would rather play, but if they want to avoid the Wizards, they have a lot of control over that.
A Wizards victory will put them in a decent position to catch up to that seven seed, and play the Celtics in the first round. A Celtics victory could push the Wizards too far away, and put them against the Raptors in the first round.
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When you take into account the injuries, there is a massive difference between playing the Celtics and Raptors in the first round, so the Wizards have a lot to play for. For the Celtics, some people want no part of playing the Heat in the first round, and if the team feels that way as well, they also have a lot to play for.
It will be interesting to see how the Celtics handle this game. Even if they do not rest anyone for the entire game, we are seeing the minutes get cut, and lower players getting more significant minutes.
Health is by far and away the main priority for the Celtics, but if Brad Stevens is thinking at all about who they want to play in the first round, that could impact the approach that is taken with the rotation in this one.
The Eastern Conference could have one of the most exciting first rounds we have ever seen in the playoffs, and all these teams have something to play for, even if they are settled into their position.
The Celtics may want to focus on themselves, and not think about their opponent at all. You know the players will go out there trying to bury the Wizards, but the bigger question is whether or not Stevens will let the top players go out there and play an entire game at 100 percent, even if it means setting them up for a matchup against the Wizards in the first round.