With just 19 games remaining in the 2022-23 season, the Boston Celtics goal is now set to finish atop the Eastern Conference to ensure any and all game sevens necessary are played at home, in front of the fans at the TD Garden.
Celtics & Bucks
After holding the top spot in the east for 68 days, since December 22nd the Celtics have fallen to number two with a 45-18 record after the Bucks 16 game win streak catapulted them to the one spot with a 45-17 record in the last two months.
The Celtics and Bucks did play eachother during this Bucks hot stretch.
It was an overtime thriller that the Bucks won 131-125, where the Celtics were without four starters in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford.
So as it was an “encouraging loss” it still affects the standings as current, and most importantly gives the Bucks a chance to win the tiebreaker which will be played in Milwaukee at the end of the month on March 30th.
The Celtics who are in a small rough patch going 10-6 in their last 16 still have a great opportunity at getting a grasp of the one seed by season’s end, but with the current play of the Bucks it won’t be easy.
The remaining schedules for both teams are fairly similar in difficulty and in terms of home away splits.
The Celtics have nine games left in Boston and ten on the road including a six game road trip coming up.
The Bucks have nine home games left and 11 road games, but as previously mentioned, host the Celtics in a game that could potentially be a tie breaker.
The Celtics are currently 25-7 at home and a league best 20-11 on the road whereas the Bucks sit at 27-5 at home and right behind the Celtics on the road at 18-12, so both teams proved they can play on the road but also have nearly perfect records in their own buildings.
Home court advantage did play a part between these two teams last season as well, as the Celtics won a game seven in Boston to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The interesting part of that series was that both teams won two games on the road, so as that might be encouraging to know that the Celtics can win in Milwaukee if it is needed to happen again this season, it is more likely that the home team defends their building more successfully this time around.
The 76ers who are five games back and the Cavaliers who are 7.5 back are both still within striking distance of the one seed, but barring a collapse and or run by one of those two the one seed battle should stay between the Celtics and Bucks.
The Celtics take on the Brooklyn Nets in Boston in their next game with a chance to reclaim the one seed heading into the last 18.