NBA Playoff Odds: The Boston Celtics’ 2021 Title Chances
Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics NBA Playoff Odds
How the Boston Celtics Got Here
There is arguably no team in the Eastern Conference that had a more disappointing season than the Celtics. Boston was two wins away from an NBA Finals appearance during last season’s playoffs and entered this season with high expectations.
The Celtics even had career seasons from their two best players: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both made the All-Star team and are one of two pairs of teammates to finish in the top-20 in scoring this season (the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are the others).
But the Celtics, like many teams were derailed by a combination of injuries and COVID-19 from the beginning of the season. Kemba Walker missed the first 11 games of the season while he recovered from a knee injury and missed seven of their last 11 games to close out the season.
Jayson Tatum has been vocal about battle with COVID and its lingering impact on his conditioning this season. And if that wasn’t enough, Jaylen Brown is out for the rest of the season with a wrist injury.
Even with their health issues, the Celtics were tied for fourth in the East with 15 games left in the season and had a good shot to clinch a playoff spot. Instead, the Celtics went 5-10 over that span and fell to No. 7 in the East. Over that span, their Offensive Rating ranked 20th in the NBA (110.9).
The Celtics need just one win in the Play-In games to secure their spot in the playoffs and they have the second-best odds of all eight play-in teams to make the postseason. However, oddsmakers aren’t expecting them to make much noise.
If they win their first play-in game, they would draw the Brooklyn Nets, a team the Celtics are 0-3 against this season. If they lose the first play-in game and win the second, they would play the Philadelphia 76ers … who the Celtics are 0-3 against this season.
Despite all their struggles and the absence of Brown, the Celtics have experience and elite players on their side, so they can’t be counted out. But a tough road awaits them if they can clear the first hurdle.