Baseketball Hoop

It’s Celtics vs. Nets … for better or worse

Lots of shallow thoughts seem to dog the NBA at the outset of all playoffs. That is mostly due to the fact that even at the age of 75, the NBA struggles to decide what it wants to be when it grows up.

The playoff format is fluid from season to season, tinkered with mostly for the sake of TV ratings. Play-in games, five-game series, seven-game series … all of its intentions are etched in sand.

The most annoying theory in these parts is the suggestion that the Celtics should have tanked their final game of the season so they wouldn’t have to face the Nets in the opening round.

Despite limiting the minutes of their stars, the Celtics drubbed the Minnesota Timberwolves.


Silly, naive me for believing that the objective for every team, in every game, is to win.

Obviously, tanking in the NBA isn’t exactly a new concept. Typically it is done by bad teams who are trying to get the highest number of ping-pong balls used to set the order of the NBA Draft.

The league doesn’t seem to care a whit about that. An owner can come out in February and say “Hey, we’re going nowhere, so let’s lose ’em all and have a shot at (insert college stud’s name here) in the draft without fear of any serious reprimand.

On the bright side, it makes the lottery ping-pong ball drop fun when said owner’s team ends up lower than expected.

That minor entertainment value is submerged by any notion that the NBA’s objective is to look like a rich man’s version of professional wrestling.

This came to mind Wednesday by a radio talkshow caller who declared himself a Celtics fan suggested that they screwed up by winning in the regular-season finale Sunday. The win installed the C’s as the No. 2 seed, pitting them against the Brooklyn Nets in Round 1.

Had Boston dropped to No. 3 they would face the Chicago Bulls to open the playoffs.

Now that the Nets look a lot more like the team everyone envisioned last fall, they present a much greater challenge.

And with Robert Williams out for the series, it is hardly outlandish to pick the Nets to win.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have the ability to take charge on any given night. If Ben Simmons actually plays – and is actually motivated – he could make it more difficult.

It says here that the Celtics will win this series.

And if they don’t, maybe they aren’t as good as we’d like to believe.

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