As intense as things can get in the regular season, the playoffs bring about a new landscape for the NBA. Those Monday night sleeper games become a thing of the past, and teams are competing night in and night out to make the next round.
In a 7 game series, it can prove challenging to beat a good team 4 times, especially a team as stacked as the Celtics, who are loaded with star talent, young guns, and brilliant coaching minds. This is what Kyrie Irving alluded to recently when discussing the postseason chances of his Celtics come spring. No matter how many losses they rack up, how much much confidence can an opponent have when it comes down to beating them 4 out of 7 times?
“In this league, the teams that adapt the quickest, or they adapt at the right time, are successful in the playoffs. We’re still waiting for that thing to click. We’ve gone on eight games, six games, four games winning streaks and then we’ll hit a lull of three games and we’re back answering questions like this, so, it is what it is. Like I said, I don’t get frustrated about this stuff anymore. It’s just part of the regular season. In the playoffs, when we can plan for a team, prepare for a team, I still don’t see anybody beating us in seven games.”
He has a point. Given preparation, and a new sense of urgency, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who thinks the Celtics are an easy opponent to face in the playoffs. Beating that team in a 7 game series is a daunting task for sure.
Then again, couldn't the same be said about the Raptors? Couldn't it be said about the Sixers?
So while you shouldn't count the Celtics out of the title chase, they themselves might find that the East no longer belongs to them. For the first time in a while (and unlike the thinking of Kyrie), we can't predict who might be making the Finals this year.