Top Seed on the Line? Boston Celtics Face Charlotte Hornets in Potential Playoff Preview

The Boston Celtics, despite securing the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, find themselves in unfamiliar territory: a 2-game series of defeats. They will be determined to get the Hornets back at the herd on Friday night when they take them home at the Charlotte Hornets.

The Boston (62-18) phenomenon is that they have used rotations mostly of their stars since wrapping up the first spot in the standings. However, this tactic led to Milwaukee Bucks and The New York Knicks consequently beating us together. The most recent setback, a 118-109 home defeat at the hands of the Knicks, ended the owners’ winning run of 13 games at home.

“Clearly we did not have enough effort level at least in the first half and I take that responsibility,” Joe Mazzulla, the Celtics’ coach said. “This is a challenging scenario for us as a team. “Game 7” is always emotional, but these opponents lost their seasons, so their desperation played a huge role. Such experiences are not what we have.

Mazzulla sees the recent victories not a curse, in fact, it appears a blessing in disguise. “Winning streak that we have will not automatically guarantee us the good result. Things could get a little bit harder than we anticipated. But that is a good thing because it will make us sharpen up.”

This will be the third-string showdown between the Celts and the Hornets this season. In that November fray Charlotte initiating overtime and Boston winning in the most recent match in April.

The Charlotte Hornets (20-60) have no chance in reaching the playoffs but still continue to exite after snatching a 115-114 victory over their season rivals, the Atlanta Hawks. The rookie Brandon Miller who is a leader with his 27 points including 5 three-pointers was the one that gave the team most energy. As Miller becomes a part of a very special group of rookies whose statistics include no less than seven games of 25 and 5 treys, he certainly deserves recognition for his impressive performance.

“Defense is a key to success,” added Miller as a mere celebrating follower. “This is something that we all practice and preach all the time; that we have to stay focused, we had to take the collective effort, and make winning plays at the last moments.”

With their season coming to an end, the Hornets are taking this last chance to build a competitive team for next year, that includes talented players like Miller. They’ll finish their season at home on Sunday as they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers while Washington is set to pay a visit to the Celtics at the regular season finale.

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