In upcoming days, every Playoff position will be decided. Only the top and bottom of the Eastern Conference remain undecided. The Bulls, Pacers, and Miami are fighting for the playoffs. The Celtics and Cavaliers are vying for home court till the finals. Both teams have been at the top for months, but they are vastly different.
The Celtics and Cavs were supposed to be great this season. The Cavaliers have somewhat underperformed their expectations after winning last year’s title. They have continued to show an inability to win without Lebron James on the floor. James has been essential to the Cavs success since the team drafted him.
Similar things are said about Isiah Thomas who has propelled the Celtics into playoff contention. Unlike the Cavs, the Celtics roster is not star-studded. Isaiah Thomas is the only All-Star on the team and without Thomas would presumably be sitting next to the Knicks in the standings.
As of Wednesday morning, the Celtics have a one game lead over the Cavs for the top spot in the East. Which is incredible considering where the team was last year but does it matter?
Does their Division win and potential Conference win mean anything? On the final day of the season in 2016, the Celtics Lost home court due to an unfortunate tie-breaker. Last year’s playoffs saw a rash of injuries for the C’s which lead to a devastating first round loss that ended on their home court.
James and the Cavs seem to have a limited interest in the One seed at this point allowing the Celtics to swoop in the final moments. However, it is not impossible for the Cavs to regain the top seed if the Celtics have a lapse in attention on Wednesday. As it currently, stands the Celtics will match up with the Bulls in the first round. The Cavs will likely play the Pacers and stands a good chance to be the most intriguing matchup in the East.
WHY THE CAVS DON’T NEED THE ONE SEED.
The Cavaliers have shown their ability to win when it counts. They won the title last season against a 73 win team. They have nothing left to prove and have no need for home court against anyone outside of the finals. Although there are questions if the Cavs can turn into the team they were last year, come the playoffs.
James has made the finals in six straight seasons, but this could be the end. The Cavs chemistry is all out of whack. Tristan Thompson has been overworked and he’s their only defensive paint presence. Until the team moves Lebron to Center the Cavs have no option defensively. Although this is an issue absent of playing location. They have the most experience in the east and have the biggest upside of any team.
If there were any team that could, on paper, challenge the Cavs to get to the Finals, it’s not the Celtics. James has destroyed the C’s since the end of the ‘Big 3’. The Cavs could be the Eight seed and still be a favorite. The talent of other conference teams doesn’t match up. The Cavs and James have nothing left to prove after last year.
(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)
WHY THE CELTICS NEED THE ONE SEED.
If a team ever needed home court…it would be the Wizards. The Wizards have a negative ‘+/-‘ on the road while they are +5 at home. However, this is about the Celtics, and similarly, the Celtics are much better at home, but not as much as you might think.
Of the eight teams in the top four of either conference, the Celtics have the worst home ‘+/-‘ at a dismal 3.7. They are only above Washington when it comes to overall ‘+/-.’ Thomas has led the Celtics to their winning record through a flurry of fourth quarter performances throughout the season. He has put the team on his back, but will he still be able to do so when other teams go harder?
Similar to the Raptors of last year, the Celtics are first team All-Try Hard. Last year, the Celtics were steam-rolling through the league in the second half. This year, they find themselves stumbling into the one seed. Home Court is as valuable to any as it could be, but their prosperity is dependent on their matchup. The C’s could legitimately lose to every team in the Eastern playoffs. They don’t match up well against the Cavs, Heat, Raptors, the playoff Wizards, and the “TNT Bulls.” The Bucks and Hawks have continued to give the C’s trouble stemming back to last season.