Pregame Post-Ups: C’s, Wizards in Playoff Seeding Battle

Monday, March 20 - Wizards at Celtics

Pregame – C’s, Wizards in Playoff Seeding Battle

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards enter Monday night’s season series finale in the midst of a heated playoff seeding battle.

With just three and a half weeks remaining in the regular season, the two teams sit just one and a half games apart in the Eastern Conference standings as they fight to the finish.

Washington, winners of two of the three previous matchups, currently finds itself as the third seed in the Eastern Conference – one spot behind the second-place Celtics. Boston, meanwhile, is just two and half games behind first-place Cleveland (46-23), so the No. 1 seed surely isn’t out of the question for either the Celtics (44-26) or the Wizards (42-27).

Playoff seeding, of course, is of great importance because of its implications on home court advantage. At the moment, however, both head coaches are trying to not get ahead of themselves. They simply want their teams to focus on the next game at hand and see how it plays out in the end.

“You just play as hard as you can and you live with the results,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said ahead of tip-off at TD Garden. “You want to be healthy, but you want to get as high of a seed as you can. But once the Playoffs start, it’s you against the other team. You don’t worry about your seeding; you have to compete for the first to (win) four (games). The focus on tonight is just focusing on playing well for 48 minutes.”

C’s coach Brad Stevens had a similar philosophy heading into Monday’s tilt.

“I just think it’s about playing good basketball and [the playoff seeding] sorts itself out,” he said from outside Boston’s locker room. “Obviously you want to be as good of a seed as you can; I think that there’s no question about that. But I’d like to have some healthy games here to play some good basketball and see if we can figure ourselves out as we head into the next month-plus.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, they are fully healthy as they head into the season series finale against Washington. Isaiah Thomas will return to the court with no minutes restriction after missing the last two contests because of a right knee injury.

This is certainly a matchup in which Boston needs all hands on deck, especially considering the implications it could have on playoff seeding down the line.

- Taylor C. Snow