Celtics Still Expected To Make Playoffs

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Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors defends Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics
Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors defends Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics

The play-in tournament stands between the Boston Celtics and a spot in the 2021 NBA playoffs. Even though there’s still work to be done, the team is expected to return to the postseason.

Boston’s playoff chances are greater than any of the other three Eastern Conference play-in teams. After finishing seventh in the regular-season standings, the Celtics have two opportunities to clinch a playoff berth.

The Celtics have -625 odds to make the playoffs, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Boston is given +400 odds to lose two straight games and miss the playoffs.

The Washington Wizards visit Boston on Tuesday night. The winner will advance to the first round and a matchup with the Brooklyn Nets as the No. 7 seed. The Celtics are favored by 1.5 points.

If Boston loses to Washington, the Celtics will host the winner of Tuesday’s contest between the Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers. Indiana is favored by three points at home against Charlotte. 

The Celtics have lost 10 of their last 15 games. The Wizards finished the regular season strong, going 17-6 over their final 23 games. Bradley Beal finished second in the NBA with 31.3 points per game. Russell Westbrook continues to be a triple-double machine, averaging 23.6 points, 12.8 rebounds and 13.1 assists per game since the All-Star break. 

Finishing with a .500 record, Boston is among the NBA’s most disappointing teams. The Celtics have reached the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons. Boston last missed the playoffs in 2014.

Injuries and COVID-19 safety protocols disrupted the Celtics throughout the season, Jaylen Brown, one of the team’s two All-Stars, is done for the season with a wrist injury. Kemba Walker was limited to 43 games because of a knee injury. 

Jayson Tatum is averaging 27.8 points on 47.9% shooting since the All-Star break.




Photo: Getty Images | Michael Reaves

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