Tie goes to ... the C's

March, 24, 2010
NBAE/Getty Images Little-used NBA tie-breaker No. 259: A jump ball between both teams.
The road to the third seed in the Eastern Conference just got a little easier for the Boston Celtics.

Recently, we've been noting that the Celtics must finish with a better record than the Atlanta Hawks in order to secure that third seed because our interpretation of the NBA playoff rules suggested that the first tie-breaker between two of the top four seeds reverted to head-to-head record (with the Hawks having swept Boston in four regular-season meetings).

Turns out it's even simpler. According to the NBA, a division leader automatically trumps a second-place finisher in another division. So, assuming the Orlando Magic win the Southeast Division (they're 4.5 games up on Atlanta), it's actually the Hawks that will need to finish ahead of Boston in order to net that third seed.

We bet Atlanta's not thrilled with that tie-breaking procedure considering the strength of the respective divisions. Especially since, under a tie scenario, the Celtics would boast homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals should the teams meet there.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?


Tedy Bruschi, NFL

ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi weighs in on the responsibility Tom Brady shoulders for the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski's physicality and how New England will use Darrelle Revis.

Baseball Tonight

Buster Olney talks to Alex Speier, Karl Ravech and Justin Havens about whether the Red Sox will move Jon Lester before the trade deadline, pace of play and much more.

Greg Cosell, NFL

NFL Films' Greg Cosell covers the Cowboys' defense, Rob Gronkowski's impact, Darrelle Revis' performance last season, the Giants' talent level and the outlook for the Cardinals.

Baseball Tonight

Buster Olney and Keith Law talk about the Tigers' acquisition of Joakim Soria and whether it's wise to trade within the division. Plus, Matt Gelb on the Phillies' plans.


Jeff Green
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9