The NBA officially released the final schedule for each team’s remaining eight regular-season games. The Boston Celtics’ last remaining games include games against Milwaukee, Portland, Miami, Brooklyn, Toronto, Orlando, Memphis, and Washington.
This schedule is similar to what many predicted it to be beforehand. The only difference is instead of playing Washington twice, the Celtics will play Orlando instead of one of those games, which makes sense.
Boston was given a pretty easy schedule to finish off the regular season, at least to their standards. These are all teams they have beaten during the season and should have no issue beating most of these teams again. It’s interesting because Boston will be pushing hard to grab that two-seed from Toronto, who was given a tougher schedule to finish their season.
Stealing that two-seed from Toronto would be essential for Boston because of matchup purposes. Home-court advantage doesn’t mean anything now, so it’s all about focusing on getting better matchups for the playoffs. Game five against Toronto will be important for Boston too because if they win that game, they hold the tiebreaker, meaning if Boston and Toronto have the same record when the season ends, Boston will end up with the two-seed.
With that being said, here are my thoughts on each regular-season game and what I believe Boston’s record will be after this stretch of games.
Game One: Milwaukee
This is one of the only games I believe Boston will lose during their final stretch of games. The Bucks currently have the best record in the NBA and the frontrunner for MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Boston and Milwaukee split the season series at 1-1, and this game was actually next on both team’s schedules before the season was suspended.
We don’t know who’s going to be rusty and who’s going to be hot right out the gate. Considering it’s the first game back and it’s against the Bucks, I’m going to give the Celtics the loss here. This game won’t provide any indication of what will happen if these two teams face off in a seven-game series, but it’ll certainly a tough first game back for Boston.
Game Two: Portland
This is a game that the Celtics should win. In the one game they played this season, Boston won by 12 points, while being led by Jayson Tatum (36 points) and Jaylen Brown (24 points). Neither Kemba Walker nor Damian Lillard played this game, though. Portland is in the playoff hunt, so this game will be essential for them to win, but they’ll also be without forward Trevor Ariza. I expect Boston to walk out with a W.
Game Three: Miami
This will be another test for Boston because I believe Miami is one of the hardest teams to face in the NBA. They’re scrappy and have a roster filled with a ton of great role players led by Jimmy Butler. They can make any playoff series exciting and shouldn’t be slept on.
Boston won both games during the regular season by 19 and 9 points, respectively. Boston won the second game without Tatum, and Brown scored at least 25 points in each of those games. Boston should win this game, but it can be a close one.
Game Four: Brooklyn
This will be Boston’s only back-to-back game, but it shouldn’t be an issue. Although Brooklyn leads the season series 2-1, they’ll be without Kyrie Irving and (unsurprisingly) Kevin Durant. As long as Caris LeVert doesn’t turn into the greatest basketball player of all-time against Boston once again, this should be an easy win for the Celtics. Jayson Tatum also didn’t play in that game, so maybe he’ll be the one to equal out LeVert if something like that does happen again.
Game Five: Toronto
This is probably the most crucial game for Boston out of these eight games. This will be a must-win game, and although Boston currently leads the season series at 2-1, Toronto is not a team to be taken lightly in the slightest.
Both teams will be fighting to secure that two-seed and will have a chip on their shoulder as well, considering these two teams are expected to meet up at some point in the playoffs. This game can go either way, but because there’s no home-court advantage, I’m going with Boston.
Game Six: Orlando
I have nothing against Orlando, but this should be an easy win for Boston. In the three games they played this season, Boston won all three by 25, 11, and 16 points, respectively. Orlando will be fighting to hold onto the eighth seed, but Boston should take care of business here.
Game Seven: Memphis
This a game that I genuinely think Boston might lose. Although Boston should be favored to win this game, they always lose a game to a team they shouldn’t lose to. Memphis will be fighting to secure a playoff spot, and this game will mean a lot to them since it’ll be one of their final games. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. will come into this game with something to prove, and if Boston is going to lose a second game out of their eight, this would be one of them.
Game Eight: Washington
This is yet another game Boston should have no issue winning. To make things even better for Boston, Davis Bertans is sitting out Washington’s final eight games, so that benefits the Celtics massively. Also, at this point, the Wizards could mathematically be eliminated from getting the eighth seed, and if that’s the case, I doubt we’d see Bradley Beal play this game. As long as they don’t allow Ish Smith to torch them, they should be just fine.
I predict the Celtics to finish with a 6-2 record and finish the regular season with an overall record of 49-23. I believe they’ll lose to Milwaukee and another team that’ll be fighting for a playoff spot, and I think that team will be Memphis.
It’ll be interesting to see how well the Celtics perform once the season starts back up. I don’t expect them to be super rusty and in non-basketball shape, but I’m also not expecting them to pick up right where they left off, just so I don’t get my hopes up. Boston got a pretty easy schedule and could definitely finish with a record better than 6-2.
Photo: Elise Amendola | Credit: AP