Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
It’s important for the Celtics to get the best first-round matchup possible right now with all of the injuries they’re dealing with, especially if Kyrie [Irving] misses the first round. But I’m not sure what that is. Who do you want the Celtics to play in the first round? – Scott S.
It’s tempting to say the 2015-16 Sixers, who went 10-72 in peak “The Process” tank mode with Jahlil Okafor leading them in scoring – ugh. But I suppose I’ll play this straight and choose from the three teams they actually could conceivably end up playing — the Heat, Bucks, and Wizards, who are all within a game of each other in the 6-7 sports in the Eastern Conference standings.
Presuming the Celtics, winners of six straight, don’t catch the Raptors for the top spot, they’ll lock into the No. 2 seed and face the No. 7 seed. I’d just as soon they avoid the Bucks, because of the Giannis Antetokounmpo factor. He might be at the point now where he can seize a series on his own, and he might get a little more help than we expect. Jabari Parker had 35 points the other night, which is good to see given all he’s gone through.
The Wizards are enigmatic. They gave a different-looking Celtics roster a fight last year in the playoffs, before Kelly Olynyk put an end ot that. The teams clearly can’t stand each other. And John Wall is finally back from injury. I don’t like the idea of facing the Wall-Bradley Beal backcourt combo without Irving or Marcus Smart. But if Wall is at all rusty, he could be a detriment to some degree because he’s not the kind of player to ease his way back. If he is right? They could win the series, and they’d revel annoyingly in doing so.
By the process of elimination, I guess I’d vote for the Heat. Erik Spoelstra is a terrific coach, and that team plays with a ton of energy. But I think the Celtics, even shorthanded, would take them down in the first round.
I’m not ready for the contentiousness of a Wizards series, or Giannis’s next step in world domination. So give me the Heat. I can tolerate a round of Dwyane Wade hero ball. So can the Celtics.
What do you guys think? Who do you want the Celtics to play in the first round? I’ll hear you in the comments.