The Celtics currently hold the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, not an enviable place to be when you're staring at a first-round matchup against either the Bulls or Heat. In order to avoid those two powerhouses in the first round, the green team needs to either win the division (they trail the Sixers by two games) or pass the Hawks for the sixth seed (they trail them by two games as well).
The Celtics still have two more games against Philadelphia, admittedly not a comforting thought after Wednesday night's 103-71 smackdown at Wells Fargo Center. The headline on the back page of the Philadelphia Daily News summed it up: "Foldin' Oldies."
The Celtics have yet to play Atlanta, another strange function of the 66-game season. They will play the Hawks three times in a month, with two of the games in Atlanta. The first meeting is at Atlanta on Monday, March 19, which follows a Saturday night game in Denver. Good luck with that.
The Celtics also have three games left against Miami, two of which are in Boston, and one against the Bulls, in Chicago, the night after they play the Spurs in Boston. They play 18 of their final 28 games on the road, including three in as many nights April 13-15.
Jumping out of one of the final two playoff seeds will be no easy task.
Doc Rivers joked Wednesday night (before the game, obviously) that all he knew was that it made good sense to win the division and avoid the top two seeds in the first round. He quickly added that that would be true in any season, not just this one, but it was pretty clear he was thinking what all Celtics fans must be thinking.