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Celtics have a favorable remaining schedule

Time to finish out strong.

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics currently reside percentage points behind the Wizards for the No. 2 seed but have a golden opportunity to finish the season strong. They are finally healthy at the right time and have a very favorable schedule heading down the stretch.

Avery Bradley’s minutes restriction has been lifted, Al Horford’s elbow issue seems to be resolved, and the Celtics top rotation players all appear to be healthy and playing their normal allotment of minutes.

The Celtics next three opponents (Minnesota, Brooklyn, Philadelphia) have a total of 63 wins combined. Marc Stein digs into the numbers even deeper:

via ESPN

The combined winning percentage of Boston's 16 remaining opponents entering Sunday's afternoon rout of Chicago was a mere .435. The Celts won't leave the Eastern time zone for the rest of the season and will travel fewer than 3,000 miles between now and the playoffs. The average NBA team, according to research done by our own Micah Adams, will travel nearly 9,000 miles during the season's final month.

The extra rest could pay dividends on the team’s health and give them a nice ramp-up to the playoffs.

Furthermore, the schedule may help Boston hold off Washington and Toronto for the No. 2 seed, and (if the Cavs continue to struggle) the Cs might even steal the No. 1 seed before all is said and done.

The website FiveThirtyEight projects the Celtics to finish with 53 wins, one ahead of the Cavs and 2 ahead of the Wizards.

Of course they’ll have to prove it on the court, and Boston still has games against the Wizards and Cavaliers this year. This club has been pretty unpredictable, in particular since the All-Star break. Perhaps a little home cooking and a few lower-tier opponents can help them find their groove again. That formula worked against the Bulls last night.

This team has to finish out strong to maintain a high seed and home-court advantage in the playoffs. Seems like they don’t have any excuses if they fail to do so. They just have to go out there and execute as they are capable of, and things should work out just fine for the rest of the season.

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