Remember my piece summarizing the NBA Playoffs? Here’s a quip recap (as told by Colleen):
- Sixteen teams make the playoffs each season, eight from the eastern conference and eight from the western conference.
- Each team within each division is “seeded” according to their win/loss record.
- The playoffs start with the number one seed from each conference playing the number eight seed from the same conference and the second seed playing the seventh, third playing the sixth and fourth playing the fifth.
- The four winners of the first round move to the conference semi-finals under the same seeding format and the two winners from the semi-finals move on to the conference finals
- Finally, the Eastern Conference champ and the Western Conference champ play each other in the NBA Finals.
- Note: each series is a best-of-seven series meaning the first to get four wins moves on.
On the Court
In the words of Jordan Greer, “The end of the 2017-18 NBA regular season has become a sprint to the finish line” and I couldn’t agree any more.
In the East, the Raptors, Celtics, 76ers, Cavs, Pacers, Heat, Bucks, and Wizards have clinched playoff berths.
In the West, the Rockers, Warriors, Trail Blazers, and Jazz have clinched playoff berths. The Pelicans, Spurs, Thunder, and Timberwolves are all competing with similar records.
See Tom’s post here for more detailed explanations!
Off the Court
Here is where I talk about the Celtics. I can’t not be biased here. I attended the Celtics/Hawks game on Sunday and saw first hand what Boston is working with here. I’m placing this topic in the “off the court” category because to me, the biggest variable in the East right now is the fact that a team who’s starting lineup and rotations consists of people who been “off the court” almost all season.
On Sunday, I saw playing time from a ridiculous amount of people as the Celtics scrambled to find harmony. In order of the most time on the court to the least time on the court, the Celtics played Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, Semi Ojeleye, Aron Baynes, Jabari Bird, Greg Monroe, Shane Larkin, Abdel Nader, and Jonathan Gibson.
Food for thought: In the famous streak ending game against the Miami Heat back in November, the Celtics played Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Marcus Morris the majority of the game, with subs like Aron Baynes, Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, Shane Larkin, and Semi Ojeleye. With the exception of Theis, we now rely on these subs.
The Court Itself
*read the beginning again now if you need a recap on how the playoffs work*
The series are played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format. This means that the team with home-court advantage hosts games 1, 2, 5, and 7. Their opponent gets to host games 3, 4, and 6.
Check out this old (but fun) 2016 ranking of home team advantages. “Some NBA teams have a built-in home-court advantage that makes things difficult on opposing teams, while some clubs don’t have much of an advantage at all.”
Image is mine!