Having blown out the Bulls by the necessary margin to win their group on a strange Tuesday night at TD Garden, the Celtics will head to Indiana next week to take on the Pacers in the quarterfinals of the In-Season Tournament.
The inaugural edition of the NBA’s new midseason competition has thrown a wrench into the schedule as the league figures out how to balance the extra matchups for the eight teams that qualified from the group stage.
The Celtics will face the Pacers on the road Monday. A win would advance Boston to the semifinals of the tournament in Las Vegas on Dec. 7, followed by the championship game on Dec. 9.
Every game in the tournament (except for the championship) counts toward the regular season. All eight quarterfinalists are guaranteed at least two games, as quarterfinal winners will play in the semifinals and quarterfinal losers will play another quarterfinal loser for their second game.
The 22 teams already eliminated, meanwhile, will each play two games during this schedule detour — one at home and one on the road — to keep things ticking along while the first NBA Cup, plus $500,000 for each player on the winning team, is awarded in Las Vegas.
After the Celtics take on the Pacers on Monday, the Pelicans will face the Kings in the first West quarterfinal later that evening, before the Bucks host the Knicks and the Suns travel to face the Lakers in other two quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Should the Celtics lose Monday’s quarterfinal in Indiana, they will take on the loser of the other East matchup between Milwaukee and New York on Friday, Dec. 8.
It’s all less complicated than it sounds, but a little tricky to keep track of as the NBA irons out the wrinkles of its newest innovation. Here’s an outline of the Celtics’ schedule for next week, with plenty still to be determined.
Monday, Dec. 4: Celtics at Pacers, In-Season Tournament quarterfinal (7:30 p.m., TNT)
If the Celtics win
Thursday, Dec. 7: In-Season Tournament semifinals (Las Vegas)
Saturday, Dec. 9: In-Season Tournament championship (Las Vegas, does not count toward regular season record)
If the Celtics lose
Friday, Dec. 8: Celtics vs. loser of Bucks/Knicks
Amin Touri can be reached at email@example.com.