With just a week to go, I’m happy to report that the Milwaukee Bucks main competition in the Eastern Conference will not, in fact, have an easy waltz into the playoffs. The Celtics remain within striking distance of the one seed (even if the Bucks control their destiny in this regard) and the Sixers could stumble their way out of the three seed if they’re mopey to close the season. With both those teams facing off against one another tomorrow, the result will set the tone for the games remaining.
As we’ve done the previous few weeks, here are the Celtics, Sixers, and Cavs remaining schedules:
Boston Celtics (54-24, 2 games back of Milwaukee)
@ Philadelphia (51-27) Tuesday, v. Toronto (39-39) Wednesday, v. Toronto (39-39) Friday, v. Atlanta (39-39) Sunday
Philadelphia 76ers (51-27, 5 games back of Milwaukee)
v. Boston (54-24) Tuesday, v. Miami (41-37) Thursday, @ Atlanta (39-39) Friday, @ Brooklyn (43-35) Sunday
Cleveland Cavaliers (49-30, 7.5 games back of Milwaukee)
@ Orlando (34-44) Tuesday, @ Orlando (34-44) Thursday, v. Charlotte (26-53) Sunday
The Cavs obviously have the easiest remaining schedule of the three and should be favored to finish the year 3-0 while both Boston and Philly are up against opponents shuffling for seeding, home-court advantage in the play-in tournament, or hoping to stay out of the play-in entirely. Milwaukee’s remaining schedule is something of a grab bag with one team out of things entirely and three who may or may not have something to still play for.
Due to tonight’s NCAA men’s tournament championship game, the NBA is off entirely. But feel free to use this space to game out season-closing scenarios to your heart’s content and follow along as things wind to a close.
Note: In case of a tie in record between two teams, the first tiebreaker criteria is head-to-head record; the Celtics own the tiebreaker over Milwaukee having won 2 out of the 3 matchups between the teams this year. Regardless of the result in tomorrow’s game, Boston owns the tiebreaker over Philly having won 3 of their season series’ 4 games. Finally, the Sixers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cleveland going 2-1 in their games.