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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Jockeying for (ping-pong) position

By Chris Forsberg

The Boston Celtics were formally eliminated from postseason contention with Monday's loss in Chicago. With eight games remaining, the question is where will they end up in the final standings as lottery-bound teams jockey for additional ping-pong balls.

Over the final 16 days of the regular season, we'll take a glance at how the standings are shaking down after each Celtics game and keep an eye on where Boston might land. Here's a glimpse of the standings entering the games on April 1:

 
RAPID REACTION: Things remain fluid in the middle of this pack and, as Hollinger's projection shows, there's unlikely to be much simulation between Orlando, Utah, Los Angeles, and Boston. What's working against the Celtics is a very easy schedule. As our friends at CelticsBlog noted, the winning percentage of Boston's remaining opponents is a mere 0.394. There's a very good chance that Boston, competitive until the final moments of recent games against quality competition, could emerge with a couple wins before season's end that might drop them in the ping-pong ball quest. Let's remember that Boston has not shied from a desire to win games, believing that victories help a young team more than an increased probability at a high pick. That said, there's a clear value in being among the bottom 5 teams, just take a glance at draft position probability by position (assuming no ties):

Draft probability