The Celtics are entering the final stretch of their regular season, with a pair of matchups against the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards on tap this week.
Thanks to a three-game winning streak, Boston is locked in as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, and won’t have to worry about seeding as it prepares for next week’s playoffs.
On Tuesday, the Celtics face a struggling Grizzlies team that is clinging to the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Memphis is 1-5 in the bubble and Portland, San Antonio, and the surging Phoenix Suns — the only undefeated team in Orlando — all are within a game, making Tuesday’s matchup crucial for Memphis’s postseason hopes.
The Celtics will then play the Wizards in their regular-season finale Thursday at noon. Washington is 0-5 in Orlando and already eliminated from postseason contention.
In the Eastern Conference, two first-round series are already locked in. Milwaukee is the top seed and will play Orlando in the first round, while Toronto is the second seed and will open up its title defense against Brooklyn.
The Celtics will play either Miami, Indiana, or Philadelphia in the first round.
The Heat beat the Pacers Monday night, giving them the slight edge for the No. 4 seed. Both teams face each other again Friday in a pivotal seeding game.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia is currently the No. 6 seed — 1½ games behind Miami and a half-game behind Indiana. The 76ers had a tough weekend. They lost Ben Simmons to likely season-ending knee surgery Saturday, then watched Joel Embiid leave Sunday’s contest against the Blazers with a left ankle injury.
Philadelphia plays Phoenix, Toronto, and Houston this week as it tries to leapfrog Miami and Indiana.
Over the weekend, the eighth and ninth seeds in the West will face off in a play-in to determine the final playoff spot. If the eighth seed wins Saturday, it is in the postseason. However, if the nine seed wins, the two teams will meet again Sunday for a winner-take-all matchup.
The Lakers are the top seed and will play either Memphis, Portland, Phoenix, or San Antonio in the first round.
The Clippers lead the Nuggets by one game for the second seed in the West and they’ll meet Wednesday to determine who plays seventh-seeded Dallas in the opening round. Houston, Oklahoma City, and Utah are all separated by two games for seeds four through six entering the final week.