Celtics Slide into Fourth Seed after 1-1 Split With Pacers and Nets
Boston, MA– It is a virtual certainty that the Boston Celtics are going to meet the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the Eastern Conference post-season. The only thing still TBD is what the seeding will be. If the season ended today, the Celtics would be in possession of the number four seed and home court advantage, thanks to a 45-32 record that has them even with Indiana. However, Boston owns the tiebreaker over the Pacers, if it comes down to that.
The weekend began with the Celtics and Pacers jockeying for position in a Friday night game at the TD Garden. The teams were extremely evenly matched for the entire game, but with half a second remaining in the game and the score knotted up at 112-112, Kyrie Irving drove to the hoop and scored the game-winning layup. The basket was also good for 30 points on Kyrie's night, as he added five assists and two rebounds. Boston's next leading scorer was Al Horford, who put up 19 points in 35 minutes.
Following up this narrow, thrilling victory, the Celtics traveled to New York to face off against the Brooklyn Nets, but they were absolutely trounced by D'Angelo Russell, who dropped 20 points on the Celtics during the third quarter. This offensive explosion was enough to ultimately lead Brooklyn to a 110-96 victory. Without Kyrie in the lineup, Boston's starters woefully underperformed as Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes combined for just five points. The Celtics were instead led by Gordon Hayward, who came off the bench for 19 points and six rebounds, both of which were game-leaders for the Celtics.
It was an abysmal performance by the Celtics, who could not get it done against the young, upstart Nets, but it was a solid performance by Hayward, who has proved again that he can be relied upon in tough spots.
With just five games remaining in Boston's regular season, they will look to further cement their hold over the four seed tonight against the Miami Heat, who are locked into an eight seed battle of their own with the Orlando Magic.