The playoff between the Celtics and the Wizards, the seventh and eighth in a row at the Eastern Conference, is a duel between teams that finish the regular season on two completely different tracks.
Washington started the season 3–12 and had to take a two-week hiatus in January due to coronavirus problems before ending the season at the 17-6 streak.
Boston toured at the end of the calendar, losing 10 of the last 15 games after a six-game winning streak.
Along the way, they had to deal with the nine-match absence of Evan Fournier, who came to the team in a deal on the deadline because he tested positive for COVID-19 and lost for the rest of the season to Jaylen Brown by one lead. Wrist surgery.
That wasn’t exactly the conclusion the team that played in last year’s conference finals in the Florida bubble wanted.
“Obviously, it’s not where we expected to be, but here we are. So we have to deal with this and deal with what we have in front of us,” acknowledged Marcus Smart, the Celtics goalkeeper. “We are 0-0. Everyone has a chance to start over. We have to get out and take advantage of it.”
Guardian of witches Russell Westbrook has also indicated that he lives for the time being.
“We’ve struggled a lot to get here,” said Westbrook, who was named the Eastern Conference’s MVP of the month with an average of 26.3 points, 16.1 assists and 13.8 rebounds per match. “Nobody believed that we would only be here and from here go up.”
Although their ways to get to this point were different, they had the same thing at stake.
The winner of Tuesday’s match will be the seventh seed in the first round and face Brooklyn.
The loser meets the winner in Tuesday’s match between Charlotte and Indiana for a chance to finish eighth and face East-topped Philadelphia.
Boston has won two of its three matches against the Wizards this season, but they have not played each other since February 28.
Brown is not the Celtics team’s only injury concern.
Superstar Jason Tatum (left ankle), Tristan Thompson (left chest), Kimba Walker (left cervical nerve), Fournier (right knee), Smart (right calf) and Robert Williams III (foot) missed the final match of the regular season.
But coach Brad Stevens said he hoped everyone would be around except for Williams.
Lyceon de Belle
The health of Washington’s goalscorer Bradley Bell came into question as of Tuesday.
He was out of his rhythm at the start of Sunday’s win and missed the first six shots; He made two out of 11 field attempts and finished the first half with just five points. Nevertheless, he helped Washington win by scoring 20 points after the break.
Pacers se mid-horns
Indiana hired Nate Bjorkgren coach to help the Pacers delve into the playoffs.
Instead, they now only need 2 wins to enter.
After dealing with a season filled with injuries, defensive issues and poor communication both on and off the field, Bjorkgreen and Pacers will seek to extend their season when they host Charlotte in play on Tuesday.
“It’s the most important game of the season,” Bjorken admitted on Monday. “We talked about a knockout situation and the guys know that. I like the way we were playing, I like the way we played the ball, and I like that we received input from the bench and the way we moved the ball.”