… where there’s still something to play for.
If the Celtics want the third seed, the’ll need to beat Chicago tonight and Milwaukee tomorrow. They’ll also need help from the Atlanta Hawks who end the season against Cleveland, which has played the past week without LeBron James.
The same Bulls team that scared the life out of the Celtics in the first round a year ago, needs a late push to make a return trip. They need two wins to guarantee them the last spot in the East. They could also get in with a win and a Toronto Raptors loss.
They would play the Cavs If they get in. The two teams split their season series, and having dealt with them last year, Paul Pierce said there’s a chance they could cause trouble if they sneak in.
“They can be very dangerous,” Pierce said. “Like last year, they got to the playoffs and pushed us to seven games and they could have beat us. So the key is just making it into the playoffs and seeing what happens and that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Their most important piece has been Joakim Noah, who’s turned into the type of leader that sets the tone on defense and doesn’t back down even if “royalty” is on the floor.
“Rose is Rose, and it’s amazing that he’s in his second year and we’re already assuming his numbers which is scary when you think about it,” Rivers said. “But Noah gets more out of what he does. He does everything for that team. He’s clearly their energy beacon. You know what else he has and I don’t think he gets a lot of credit for, he has an incredibly high basketball IQ. It reminds me so much of Dennis Rodman in that way. He’s a great passer. He has great timing to set picks. He defends all over the floor. He’s not as good of a defender as Rodman yet but he will be because he works at it.”
Rivers said Kevin Garnett will play tonight, though his minutes are up in the air. Tony Allen’s status is also uncertain. He could miss tonight’s game with the flu.
More to come.