The 10 Most Underrated Games of Boston's Second Half
You’ve seen the second half of the Boston Celtics’ schedule. You’ve seen their 13 games that are scheduled to be nationally broadcast. But have you recognized their matchups that are flying under the radar?
If your answer is ‘no,’ fear not; we’ve got you covered! We dug through Boston’s remaining schedule and outlined the 10 most underrated games you need to catch – many of which can be witnessed in person at TD Garden (!!!) – before the Playoffs arrive in late-May.
No. 10 – Monday, March 22 at Memphis Grizzlies
This contest will fall on the second night of a back-to-back for the Celtics, who will have taken on the Magic in Boston the night before. Boston to Memphis isn’t exactly a hop, skip and a jump, so the C’s could very well be a bit fatigued depending on how the Magic game goes. Boston will also be taking on one of the premier young talents in the league in Ja Morant, who has not faced Boston since notching 26 points and 13 assists against them during a Celtics win inside the bubble.
No. 9 – Friday, April 30 vs San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio is the most underrated and overlooked team in the NBA. Hard to believe, seeing as they’ve been the most consistent franchise in the league over the last 20-plus years. Not many casual NBA fans would know that San Antonio currently owns an 18-14 record on the season sit just 4.5 games out of second place in the West. The Spurs, led by Gregg Popovich and a deep roster that features eight players who are averaging at least 11.2 points per game, cannot be overlooked.
No. 8 – Wednesday, April 7 vs. New York Knicks
New York has suddenly become a competitive team under the leadership of their first-year coach Tom Thibodeau and first-time All-Star Julius Randle. The Knicks head into the All-Star break as the East’s fifth seed and have playoff hope for the first time in years. New York’s success is based upon its toughness and its defense, and facing such characteristics will be a challenge for Boston on the second night of a back-to-back, following a primetime showdown with the 76ers.
No. 7 – Monday, April 19 vs. Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine has been tearing the league up this season. He is a must-watch. The former two-time Slam Dunk Contest winner is now a first-time All-Star thanks to him ranking sixth in the league in scoring at 28.7 points per game. First-year Bulls coach Billy Donovan has the upstart Bulls in the playoff hunt, as they currently sit as the ninth seed in the East.
No. 6 – Sunday, April 4 vs Charlotte Hornets
The biggest storyline of the NBA’s brief offseason might’ve been that Gordon Hayward defected from Boston to join the Hornets. This game will mark his return to TD Garden as a visitor – and Celtics fans will be there to greet him. Charlotte, led by Hayward, Terry Rozier and Rookie of the Year frontrunner LaMelo Ball, is currently the seventh seed in the East.
No. 5 – Tuesday, March 16 vs Utah Jazz
There isn’t usually much hype around a Boston-Utah matchup, but there should be this time around. The Jazz are the best team in the league, and they deserve the respect and attention that comes along with that title. There’s also the bromance between Jaylen Brown and Donovan Mitchell that will be on display during a game that will feature four All-Stars.
No. 4 – Sunday, May 2 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
This game will be broadcast on NBA TV, and it’ll be a good one. Boston will attempt to contain Damian Lillard, who should be near the top of the MVP conversation thanks to his averages of 29.8 points and 8.0 assists per game this season. You’ll want to watch him and Kemba Walker go at it, plus see what Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will do against Portland.
No. 3 – Tuesday, May 11 vs. Miami Heat
This will be Boston’s fourth-to-last game of the season, and it’ll surely have playoff seeding implications. Boston and Miami are currently separated by just one game in the standings. The Heat are also the group that ousted the C’s from the Playoffs last season in the bubble, preventing Boston from reaching the Finals for the first time since 2010. Revenge is a dish best served with a win for the Celts.
No. 2 – Thursday, April 22 vs. Phoenix Suns
It’s all coming together for the Suns, who added All-Star point guard Chris Paul to join forces with All-Star Devin Booker, former No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton, and a deep roster to build what is currently the league’s second-best team both by record and by point differential. The Celtics will be seeking revenge after Phoenix downed them 100-91 back on Feb. 7 in Phoenix.
No. 1 – Friday, March 26 at Milwaukee Bucks
Celtics-Bucks is always a game that needs to be watched. This one might just have some extra juice to it. Not only will this game be broadcast nationally on ESPN and feature All-Stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but it will also likely feature any new players these teams acquired the day before at the trade deadline. This could be our first look at what each team’s roster will look like heading into the Playoffs.