With the exception of five days from November 14 to February 26, the Celtics were the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks’ 16-game winning run and their defeat to the Knicks on February 27 caused them to lose their hold on the top slot, and a subsequent collapse that included four losses in their next five games caused them to fall even farther behind.
On March 14, the Celtics found themselves unexpectedly three games behind the Bucks, and they momentarily fell below the 76ers for third place.
It was a wake-up call, according to Malcolm Brogdon.
The value of obtaining the No. 1 seed has been downplayed by some Celtics. The last stretch, though, shows that they are focused. Last week, Boston came away from its road trip with a victory over Sacramento that was outstanding. Taking that momentum home, they proceeded to string together convincing wins over the Pacers and Spurs.
After losing control of the No. 1 seed, according to Brogdon, they are carrying a little additional incentive, and they want to reclaim it.
Brogdon said, “I believe we’re becoming more entrapped. “I believe it’s clear that when Milwaukee stole our No. 1 seed after the break, it came as a surprise to us that we had fallen since we had established some distance between us and them. We want the top seed, so that’s something we desire. The postseason homecourt advantage is something we are aiming for because I believe this club realises how important it is.
The Bucks (53-21) and Celtics (52-23) are separated by only 1.5 games as of Monday morning, with Milwaukee having eight games remaining. The Celtics and Bucks will face off in Milwaukee on Thursday night for their third and final meeting of the regular season after splitting the first two games of the season series. Any necessary tiebreaker will be held by the victor.
After experiencing times throughout the season when they weren’t playing at their best even in triumphs, Jaylen Brown believes the Celtics have somewhat refocused.
Brown said that although seeding is undoubtedly significant, how you play is more crucial. I didn’t pay as much attention to our seed as I did to how we were playing. We weren’t playing to our potential, in my opinion, despite the fact that we were the league’s top team for the most of the season at the times when we were defeating opponents and winning games. We started playing games when we felt a little at ease. In actuality, it shouldn’t have been been close, but even if we won, everyone would be thrilled. Therefore, everyone kind of refocuses and plays the way we need to play now that we are sort of back in the chase.
It would be much easier for the Celtics to go to the NBA Finals if they had the No. 1 seed. They would avoid going through the 76ers and Bucks, as well as gaining home-court advantage throughout the East playoffs.
The No. 2 seeded Celtics advanced to the Finals last season. They’re not coming up with justifications if they can’t reclaim the top seed.
You have to play basketball no matter what, Brogdon added, if we don’t get it. Whatever happens, you will see individuals at their best, and you will still have to deal with Milwaukee and other teams. It doesn’t matter; we’ll be ready.
Mom is always right.
Brown claimed he was struck many times in the face, where he still has a mask on due to a facial fracture he suffered last month, on his route to scoring 41 points in the victory on Sunday. He said that one of the blows gave him a bloody nose.
Since Brown was accidentally elbowed in the face by Jayson Tatum on February 8 during a game against the 76ers, it has been nearly seven weeks. However, in part because of some advise from his mother, he is still not quite ready to remove his disguise.
According to Brown, it hasn’t completely healed. “I guess they say it takes about six weeks for the cartilage to start to come back. Consequently, if you take another blow, I think you’re okay. Before it completely returns to where it was, or where it should be, you still have another six weeks to wait. Therefore, if I wanted to, I could theoretically wear it for a few more days until I’m done. However, they advise you to continue wearing it if you want to be safe.
I will likely continue wearing it since my mother wants me to.
In recognition of his role in Boston’s winning streak, Brown was awarded the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday.
Brown got the award for the third time in his career and for the first time this season. In the Celtics’ 3-0 week, which saw them crush the Kings, Pacers, and Spurs, he averaged 31.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Brown led the Celtics to a 44-point victory against San Antonio on Sunday despite the absence of Tatum. It was his third game this season with 40 or more points. He also grabbed 13 rebounds.
The two-time All-Star, who is averaging 32.1 points per game over his past seven games, is being recognised at the perfect moment as he continues to build a compelling case to be selected to an All-NBA team for the first time in his career.
Brown joins Derrick White and Jayson Tatum as a Celtics player to be awarded an Eastern Conference Player of the Week this season.
Tatum, who missed Sunday’s victory due to a left hip contusion, was taken off the Celtics’ injury list for Tuesday’s game in Washington. Following nine games missed due to heel soreness, Payton Pritchard’s status was changed to probable for the contest.