2023-24 Celtics

InstaFace

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It’s the way the Heat play. They know they can get away with it and it’s their “style” or culture if you will. Things should tighten up in the postseason and hopefully Tatum will be treated a lot better than he was yesterday. I thought Tatum handled himself very well for the way he was being hacked with no calls. He still positively affected the game and ultimately got the W.
You know, this is a good point. I hadn't thought about it but in years past, a game like Sunday's would've seen Tatum throwing hissy fits every few minutes and probably gotten him a T. Last game - nothin'. Thanks for pointing it out, it's hard to notice absence sometimes.
 

88 MVP

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A 50-point drubbing of the Nets, the Knicks and Sixers both lose, and Chicago almost sneaks one out in Cleveland… a fun night of hoops.

Heading into the All-Star Break, the Celtics have put a stranglehold on the 1-seed in the East with their current winning streak coinciding nicely with the rest of the East faltering (with the exception of Cleveland). BBRef puts the Celtics' odds of securing the 1-seed at 99.8%.

At 43-12 (.718), the Celtics have 27 games left to play after the break. They are currently on a 64-win pace, but if they go even ~.600 the rest of the way, they would wind up 59-23 and be extremely hard to catch. Cleveland would need to go 23-6 (.793) to get to 60 wins, and Milwaukee would need to go 24-3 (.889).

The Celtics are going to have the luxury of giving the playoff rotation guys extra nights off down the stretch. At this point, my main interest in the remaining games is just hoping to have everyone healthy and rested come mid-April.
 

bosockboy

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A 50-point drubbing of the Nets, the Knicks and Sixers both lose, and Chicago almost sneaks one out in Cleveland… a fun night of hoops.

Heading into the All-Star Break, the Celtics have put a stranglehold on the 1-seed in the East with their current winning streak coinciding nicely with the rest of the East faltering (with the exception of Cleveland). BBRef puts the Celtics' odds of securing the 1-seed at 99.8%.

At 43-12 (.718), the Celtics have 27 games left to play after the break. They are currently on a 64-win pace, but if they go even ~.600 the rest of the way, they would wind up 59-23 and be extremely hard to catch. Cleveland would need to go 23-6 (.793) to get to 60 wins, and Milwaukee would need to go 24-3 (.889).

The Celtics are going to have the luxury of giving the playoff rotation guys extra nights off down the stretch. At this point, my main interest in the remaining games is just hoping to have everyone healthy and rested come mid-April.
I’m old school and still want to secure home court over the Western Conference champ also.
 

Euclis20

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I’m old school and still want to secure home court over the Western Conference champ also.
As noted it's now a 4.5 game lead in that regard, but it's over Minnesota, who has just the 4th best odds to win the west. 2nd place is OKC (5.5 games behind Boston), who has just the 5th best odds to win the west. Denver (7 games behind Boston), Clippers (6.5 games behind Boston) and Phoenix (10 games behind Boston) are 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Plus, Boston has just the 27th hardest schedule remaining, the easiest of any team in contention for the best record. Denver has the 24th hardest, OKC is 23rd, Minnesota 22nd, Cleveland 16th, Clippers are 7th, Milwaukee is 3rd and Phoenix is 1st.

The Celtics are in as good a position as could reasonably be expected heading into the break, at least when it comes to the standings. Minnesota looks like the team with the best chance to catch Boston (their schedule is almost as difficult, plus they have 17 home games left to just 12 for Boston), but I don't think it ends up mattering.
 

lars10

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As noted it's now a 4.5 game lead in that regard, but it's over Minnesota, who has just the 4th best odds to win the west. 2nd place is OKC (5.5 games behind Boston), who has just the 5th best odds to win the west. Denver (7 games behind Boston), Clippers (6.5 games behind Boston) and Phoenix (10 games behind Boston) are 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Plus, Boston has just the 27th hardest schedule remaining, the easiest of any team in contention for the best record. Denver has the 24th hardest, OKC is 23rd, Minnesota 22nd, Cleveland 16th, Clippers are 7th, Milwaukee is 3rd and Phoenix is 1st.

The Celtics are in as good a position as could reasonably be expected heading into the break, at least when it comes to the standings. Minnesota looks like the team with the best chance to catch Boston (their schedule is almost as difficult, plus they have 17 home games left to just 12 for Boston), but I don't think it ends up mattering.
What's kinda crazy is that the C's really could have more wins at this point, but they've been load managing the entire season resting guys (and usually one or two members of the starting five) almost every game... crazy that they could even be better at this point.
 

HomeRunBaker

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What's kinda crazy is that the C's really could have more wins at this point, but they've been load managing the entire season resting guys (and usually one or two members of the starting five) almost every game... crazy that they could even be better at this point.
The team hasn’t reached its potential, it hasn’t peaked, they aren’t being challenged for the #1-seed….and Mazzulla still has them focused to come out with this type of defensive effort on the second leg of a B2B when the players minds could have easily been elsewhere. This is a special group.
 

lexrageorge

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Looking ahead at the post-ASB schedule (yeah, I know). As per Tankathon, opponents winning percentage of 0.464 is tied with the Heat for the 3rd easiest, but that is not the entire story. 12 games at home, 15 on the road.

They actually have a difficult stretch coming out of the break. Open on the road against the Bulls; being on the road is probably a good way to resume play. Followed up with a visit to Madison Square Garden. Then a home stretch against playoff teams Philly, Dallas, and nemesis Golden State. Then a 5 game western swing which opens in Cleveland, and includes stops in Denver and Phoenix and a Portland/Utah B2B. Their post-trip homecoming game (aka, chance to bet against the home team) is against the Suns.

That one-game homecoming is then followed by a road/home B2B against the Wizards and Pistons, the latter another potential trap. Giannis then comes to town, after which the Celtics embark on 6 game trip. That trip includes a road B2B against Pistons and Bulls, a weird 2 game stop in Atlanta with 2 off days in between, a visit to the Big Easy on Easter Eve, and a game against the only Eastern Conference team the Celtics haven't beat. Then they return home to face the Thunder, another tough matchup in a historically bad game situation for home teams. They end with 6 of 7 at home, the one roadie being a trip to Mount Giannis.

As noted above, going 16-11 gets them to 59 wins and is likely good enough for #1 seed overall (and almost certainly enough for #1 in the East). And there should be 16 wins in there even with the inevitable games with 2 or more starters resting. But there are definitely losses baked into this schedule, and there should be enough losses in there to get people to complain about the team's "toughness" and "reliance on the 3".

Tl;dr: the Tankathon numbers tell only part of the story, and the team will lose some games that make us think WTF?
 

kfoss99

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The Celtics have 16 games in March. From March 17 to March 25 they have six games in eight nights. April is packed with games, too. It's a pretty unrelenting schedule to end the season. As @lexrageorge mentioned, I suspect we see the starters get days off and we'll lose some games that would be wins, with more rest.
 

The Raccoon

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But isn't all of that also true for 29 other teams in the NBA? There are 2 teams that have 1 less game remaining on their schedule as of now then the Celtics with 27 games left (Pacers, Lakers). All other teams have at least 27 games remaining, many have more.
The current #2 team in the East (Cavs) have 2 more games to play against - on average - better opponents, as an example.
Most teams will also try to find rest for their stars to be ready for the playoffs (or tank for better draft picks).
The Celtics will play games where they will have rest advantage, or play afainst teams that are on a long road trip, or rest their stars...

As noted above, going 16-11 gets them to 59 wins and is likely good enough for #1 seed overall (and almost certainly enough for #1 in the East). And there should be 16 wins in there even with the inevitable games with 2 or more starters resting.
Will the C's continue to win 78% of their games? Probably not.
But they started the season 43-12; 16-11 seems to be very pessimistic!
 

JakeRae

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But isn't all of that also true for 29 other teams in the NBA? There are 2 teams that have 1 less game remaining on their schedule as of now then the Celtics with 27 games left (Pacers, Lakers). All other teams have at least 27 games remaining, many have more.
The current #2 team in the East (Cavs) have 2 more games to play against - on average - better opponents, as an example.
Most teams will also try to find rest for their stars to be ready for the playoffs (or tank for better draft picks).
The Celtics will play games where they will have rest advantage, or play afainst teams that are on a long road trip, or rest their stars...


Will the C's continue to win 78% of their games? Probably not.
But they started the season 43-12; 16-11 seems to be very pessimistic!
The team has had exactly one ten game stretch where they played at 60% (and none worse). The idea that they will drop to that level over the last 27 games is highly improbable. I could see a dip to 70%, which would be 19-8. I would personally take the over on that but around 19-20 wins strikes me as a reasonable expectation for the rest of the season after accounting for the fact that the team will almost certainly have locked up home court sometime early in April.
 

Justthetippett

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But isn't all of that also true for 29 other teams in the NBA? There are 2 teams that have 1 less game remaining on their schedule as of now then the Celtics with 27 games left (Pacers, Lakers). All other teams have at least 27 games remaining, many have more.
The current #2 team in the East (Cavs) have 2 more games to play against - on average - better opponents, as an example.
Most teams will also try to find rest for their stars to be ready for the playoffs (or tank for better draft picks).
The Celtics will play games where they will have rest advantage, or play afainst teams that are on a long road trip, or rest their stars...


Will the C's continue to win 78% of their games? Probably not.
But they started the season 43-12; 16-11 seems to be very pessimistic!
Even when the starters are resting we are rolling out Pritchard, Hauser and some other guys that are motivated to put some good tape out there. I don't think we'll see a huge drop off in win %. My guess would be between 20-22 wins going out.
 

Tudor Fever

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FWIW, their remaining schedule is the fourth easiest in the NBA, per Tankathon.

Edit: this was addressed more thoroughly above by lexrageorge.
 

jablo1312

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A 50-point drubbing of the Nets, the Knicks and Sixers both lose, and Chicago almost sneaks one out in Cleveland… a fun night of hoops.

Heading into the All-Star Break, the Celtics have put a stranglehold on the 1-seed in the East with their current winning streak coinciding nicely with the rest of the East faltering (with the exception of Cleveland). BBRef puts the Celtics' odds of securing the 1-seed at 99.8%.

At 43-12 (.718), the Celtics have 27 games left to play after the break. They are currently on a 64-win pace, but if they go even ~.600 the rest of the way, they would wind up 59-23 and be extremely hard to catch. Cleveland would need to go 23-6 (.793) to get to 60 wins, and Milwaukee would need to go 24-3 (.889).

The Celtics are going to have the luxury of giving the playoff rotation guys extra nights off down the stretch. At this point, my main interest in the remaining games is just hoping to have everyone healthy and rested come mid-April.
Easy schedule, but 15/27 on the road hurts a little bit. Still, they are in a fantastic position to get the 1 see.

I really dgaf how many games they win, as long as the get the one seed, and I hope the team mostly views things the same way. Ideally they can use this stretch to work on new tools in the bag schematically and evaluate the efficicay of end of the rotation/beginning of the deep bench guys for their usage in playoff roles. Most importantly for the top 6 reduce injury risk with less playing time and reduce wear down by not going balls to the wall until April. It looks like there will be somewhat of a dog fight for seeding beneath them from the MIL/NYK/CLE (and maybe PHI) contingent; I don't know how to quantify the value of taking it easy for the last month of the season while opponents are gutting themselves (looking at you Thibs) but it can't be completely meaningless.
 

snowmanny

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I’m not asking for much. Just build a big enough lead that they can coast/rest into the playoffs. And once the playoffs begin win the first two rounds in no more than 11 games and be relatively fresh for whoever awaits them in the ECF.
 

InstaFace

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The Celtics have 16 games in March. From March 17 to March 25 they have six games in eight nights. April is packed with games, too. It's a pretty unrelenting schedule to end the season. As @lexrageorge mentioned, I suspect we see the starters get days off and we'll lose some games that would be wins, with more rest.
6 games in 9 nights (March 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, with off-days on the 19th, 21st and 24th), but it's still a pretty tough stretch. Thankfully, 5 of those 6 games are against total patsies(@WAS, DET, @DET, @CHI, @ATL), and the sixth is the 3/20 home game vs the Bucks with a day off on either side. Could be worse.

Then 3 days after @ATL on 3/25, we get an instant-rematch game there on 3/28, so I expect the gang to just stay in Atlanta in between. Maybe Jaylen Brown can show the guys around town.
 

Ed Hillel

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Barring catastrophic injuries, if the Celtics do not get the 1 seed in the East, I will eat a log of Rocco’s shit.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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They're 6 clear of Cleveland, 8 of Milwaukee, and 10+ of the rest with 27 games to go. Unless they introduce chicken and beer to the locker room, I think the 1 seed is pretty close to a foregone conclusion at this point. I'm more interested in the race to the best record in the league. Would be nice for them to be guaranteed home court in every potential series.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The Celtics have 16 games in March. From March 17 to March 25 they have six games in eight nights. April is packed with games, too. It's a pretty unrelenting schedule to end the season. As @lexrageorge mentioned, I suspect we see the starters get days off and we'll lose some games that would be wins, with more rest.
Yeah I still haven’t gotten this easiest schedule stuff I’ve been hearing for over a month now. I mean it’s easy for us bc we’re so good which makes it easier than anyone else but there isn’t anything especially abnormal nor has there been all year. Marginal stuff that isn’t really relevant imo.
 

lovegtm

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Yeah I still haven’t gotten this easiest schedule stuff I’ve been hearing for over a month now. I mean it’s easy for us bc we’re so good which makes it easier than anyone else but there isn’t anything especially abnormal nor has there been all year. Marginal stuff that isn’t really relevant imo.
People are just talking about an objective fact: the Celtics started the year playing teams with a high combined winning %, and now they will play a schedule with a much lower opponent winning %.

That's nice!

But, as you note, there are other components to schedule difficulty, and the Celtics have a rough travel schedule upcoming.

Fwiw I think this team will have some lapses and bad losses because of that, but they are also so focused that I also expect them to bounce back from those when they happen, as they did after the Laker game. It's a locked-in group.
 

ManicCompression

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Do these SoS numbers take into account the fact that Celtics don’t play themselves? Because they so far and away have the best record, all the teams that have to play the Celtics (some multiple times) are getting their SoS juiced
 

benhogan

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Yeah I still haven’t gotten this easiest schedule stuff I’ve been hearing for over a month now. I mean it’s easy for us bc we’re so good which makes it easier than anyone else but there isn’t anything especially abnormal nor has there been all year. Marginal stuff that isn’t really relevant imo.
As we've seen several times (& last night) this team is DEEP enough to run 4-5 of their TOP6 and still blow out non-playoff teams (1 loss versus a sub .500 team). Jaylen also missed the 40pt blowout against Memphis recently.

I've been labeled the load mgmt Guy around here, which is fine by me. If Al/KP play 2-3x/week & Joe aggressively load-manages the rest of the TOP 6 against non-playoff teams they should still be a 60++ win team, #1 seed, and head into the playoffs rested.

There should be plenty of jockeying in both the WC and EC for seeds, so Boston could face some dinged-up opponents in the playoffs.
 

Euclis20

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Do these SoS numbers take into account the fact that Celtics don’t play themselves? Because they so far and away have the best record, all the teams that have to play the Celtics (some multiple times) are getting their SoS juiced
This is less of a big deal in the NBA than in the NFL, SOS tends to be fairly close to even for everyone by the end of the year. The current spread between the team with the hardest schedule thus far (GS, .519) and the team with the easiest schedule (Philly, .480) is .039. That number will get a lot smaller by year end, here's what the spread was the last few years:

2023: .009
2022: .011
2021: .007
2020: .037 (shortened year with some teams not even playing 70 games)
2019: .017
2018: .015
2017: .015
2016: .012

Year end SOS numbers tend not to matter all that much in the standings, it just gives us a sense of who has had a harder schedule so far and who has not. And as noted by HRB and others, opposing win% may not be the best indicate of this anyway.
 

Ale Xander

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They're 6 clear of Cleveland, 8 of Milwaukee, and 10+ of the rest with 27 games to go. Unless they introduce chicken and beer to the locker room, I think the 1 seed is pretty close to a foregone conclusion at this point. I'm more interested in the race to the best record in the league. Would be nice for them to be guaranteed home court in every potential series.
Isn’t JB a vegetarian? So unlikely to introduce chicken
 

ManicCompression

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This is less of a big deal in the NBA than in the NFL, SOS tends to be fairly close to even for everyone by the end of the year. The current spread between the team with the hardest schedule thus far (GS, .519) and the team with the easiest schedule (Philly, .480) is .039. That number will get a lot smaller by year end, here's what the spread was the last few years:
Yeah, totally agree - just seeing people say it's the "Third easiest schedule" and it seems like that's fairly meaningless because of what you stated, but as the number of games gets smaller, the fact that the Celtics opponents are always playing the best team in the league will distort the data.
 

Gene Conleys Plane Ticket

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They're 6 clear of Cleveland, 8 of Milwaukee, and 10+ of the rest with 27 games to go. Unless they introduce chicken and beer to the locker room, I think the 1 seed is pretty close to a foregone conclusion at this point. I'm more interested in the race to the best record in the league. Would be nice for them to be guaranteed home court in every potential series.
I've always seen this team winning 62 games. That's a record of 19-8 the rest of the way. If they accomplish that, which seems very doable for this squad, the Cavaliers (who have 2 games in hand, but who have already los the tiebreaker to the C's) would need to go 27-2 to beat them for the top seed.

Even if the Celtics go the chicken-and-beer route and slouch to, let's say, a 57-win season (same as last year)—that is, 14-13—Cleveland must go 22-7 to win the conference.

Possible? I guess so, maybe.

Likely? Uh, no.
 

NomarsFool

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Winning games is a zero sum game. So, if you win a lot of games, your opponents' winning percentages are going to be lower.
 

lexrageorge

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Do these SoS numbers take into account the fact that Celtics don’t play themselves? Because they so far and away have the best record, all the teams that have to play the Celtics (some multiple times) are getting their SoS juiced
Winning games is a zero sum game. So, if you win a lot of games, your opponents' winning percentages are going to be lower.
I recall pundits talking about how the 3 "other" AFC East teams had some the NFL's toughest schedule in 2007. They forgot to take into account that each of those teams had to play a 16-0 Patriots team twice.
 

lovegtm

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I recall pundits talking about how the 3 "other" AFC East teams had some the NFL's toughest schedule in 2007. They forgot to take into account that each of those teams had to play a 16-0 Patriots team twice.
The thing is, the NBA has enough games that this effect is pretty dampened. I don't have enough time to go back and add up the whole season, but the Celtics tough January stretch had tough travel and a roughly .540 opponents' win%.
 

lexrageorge

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The thing is, the NBA has enough games that this effect is pretty dampened. I don't have enough time to go back and add up the whole season, but the Celtics tough January stretch had tough travel and a roughly .540 opponents' win%.
I think it's fair to say the following are correct:

1.) The Celtics started off the season playing a lot of good teams. As a result, their W/L record wasn't a mirage caused by playing the league's bottom feeders, but instead was legit.

2.) 27 games is small enough that opponents winning percentage can get skewed by playing a couple of bad teams. The Celtics have 2 games left against each of the Wizards, Pistons, Hornets, and Trailblazers. Those 8 games against teams with a collective winning percentage of 0.208, which represent nearly 30% of the Celtics remaining matchups, skews the Celtics strength-of-schedule numbers.

Of the other 19 games, 14 are against teams with winning records; and the other 5 games are on the road, with 4 of them are against teams that would be in the East play-in (Bulls and Hawks), and the 5th against a decent (17-10) home team in the Jazz.
 

lovegtm

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I think it's fair to say the following are correct:

1.) The Celtics started off the season playing a lot of good teams. As a result, their W/L record wasn't a mirage caused by playing the league's bottom feeders, but instead was legit.

2.) 27 games is small enough that opponents winning percentage can get skewed by playing a couple of bad teams. The Celtics have 2 games left against each of the Wizards, Pistons, Hornets, and Trailblazers. Those 8 games against teams with a collective winning percentage of 0.208, which represent nearly 30% of the Celtics remaining matchups, skews the Celtics strength-of-schedule numbers.

Of the other 19 games, 14 are against teams with winning records; and the other 5 games are on the road, with 4 of them are against teams that would be in the East play-in (Bulls and Hawks), and the 5th against a decent (17-10) home team in the Jazz.
Agreed on all of that. My main point was #1: the Celtics played a tough schedule in the first 2/3 of the season, and some of their primary challengers (Mil, Phi) didn't. This resulted in those teams seeming closer to Boston in quality than they are.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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ManicCompression

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Agreed on all of that. My main point was #1: the Celtics played a tough schedule in the first 2/3 of the season, and some of their primary challengers (Mil, Phi) didn't. This resulted in those teams seeming closer to Boston in quality than they are.
To be clear, my question was strictly about forward- looking SOS and how easy the rest of the season looks ranked against the league. All 27 remaining Celtic opponents face a team with a 79% win pct and the Celtics don’t, so that exaggerates the SoS for those teams and makes the Cs look comparatively easy.