How Friday’s games impacted Celtics potential playoff opponents

April 13, 2024

The Celtics got back in the win column on Friday night at TD Garden but there was plenty of more meaningless action across the Eastern Conference as the race for playoff positioning heated up. The Celtics still have a meaningless Game 82 upcoming on Sunday afternoon but there will be high stakes around the conference.Nobody in the East is locked into a spot in the top-8 beyond Boston although the potential paths for the Celtics to get to the Finals are starting to become clear. Let’s look at what’s at stake entering Sunday’s regular season finale.STANDINGSMIL 49-32NYK 49-32CLE 48-33ORL 46-35IND 46-35PHI 46-35MIA 45-36REMAINING SCHEDULEMIL: @ ORLORL: MILNYK: CHICLE: CHAIND: ATLPHI: BKNMIA: TORKEY HEAD-TO-HEAD TIEBREAKERSMIL LEADS PHI (2-1, 1 TO PLAY)MIL OVER NYK (3-2)CLE OVER MIL (DIVISONAL RECORD)ORL OVER NYK (3-1)ORL-CLE (2-2, GOES TO CONF RECORD)ORL OVER IND 2-1IND OVER NYK 2-1IND OVER PHI 2-1NYK OVER CLE 2-1IND OVER PHI 2-1IND OVER MIA 2-1A THREE-HORSE RACE FOR THE NO. 2 SEEDThe Knicks and Cavs both won on Friday night while the shorthanded Bucks lost in Oklahoma City, creating plenty of intrigue for the trio of squads Sunday. All three teams have clinched homecourt advantage but anyone could land in spots 2-4 after Sunday.The Bucks have the inside track at the No. 2 seed since they will clinch it with a win but they also have the hardest opponent (Orlando) in a road contest awaiting them. The Knicks (Bulls) and Cavs (Hornets) opponents have nothing to play for so both teams winning their matchups with a Bucks loss would lead to Milwaukee sliding down to the No. 4 seed. That would open the door for a potential second-round date with Boston if the Bucks make it out of the first round.SIX POTENTIAL TEAMS COULD STILL FACE CELTICS IN FIRST ROUNDThe Magic, Pacers, and 76ers currently sit in a three-way tie for the No. 5 seed but all of those teams could fall as low as No. 8 on the final day of the regular season. With the Heat looming just one game behind and holding a number of tiebreakers, there is a huge range of teams that could be stuck in the play-in tournament.The closing schedule largely centers on the Magic hosting the Bucks. The implications there will be big for Milwaukee but they are even bigger for Orlando since a loss will likely send them to the play-in tournament. The 76ers, Pacers and Heat host unmotivated lottery teams so wins are expected by all of them on Sunday. If every team wins, we will be looking at a 76ers-Heat 7 vs. 8 matchup in the play-in tournament. If the Magic lose on Sunday, it’s the Heat that will likely be hosting Orlando in that same play-in tournament tilt.If you purchase a product or register for an account through a link on our site, we may receive compensation. By using this site, you consent to our User Agreement and agree that your clicks, interactions, and personal information may be collected, recorded, and/or stored by us and social media and other third-party partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy.