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The Race for No. 1, A Fans Guide

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff  March 15, 2011 01:18 AM

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It is clear the Celtics will have to fight for the No. 1 seed and with roughly a month left in the season, claiming the top spot in the Eastern Conference won't be easy. The Celtics have dropped three of four games and the Bulls and Heat are surging, so their worst-case scenario may become true: Boston falls to the No. 3 seed, plays the New York Knicks in a brutal first-round series and then faces the Bulls or Heat in the second round and then the Bulls or Heat in the conference finals, neither of those series the Celtics would have home-court advantage,

That is not the road the Celtics want to avoid, but here's a schedule breakdown for the top three teams and with games at Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio, the Celtics road to the top seed will be difficult.

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BOSTON CELTICS (47-18)

17 games remaining

(7 home) -- Indiana, Memphis, Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington, New York Knicks.

(10 road) -- Houston, New Orleans, New York Knicks, Indiana, Minnesota, San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Washington.

Combined opponents winning percentage: .489

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CHICAGO BULLS (47-18)

17 games remaining

(8 home) -- Washington, Sacramento, Memphis, Philadelphia, Toronto, Phoenix, Boston, New Jersey

(9 road) -- New Jersey, Indiana, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland, Orlando, New York Knicks

Combined opponents winning percentage: .414

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MIAMI HEAT (46-21)

15 games remaining

(7 home) -- Oklahoma City, Denver, Philadelphia, Houston, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Boston

(8 road) -- Atlanta (2), Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, Minnesota, New Jersey, Toronto

Combined opponents winning percentage: .439

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