via Getty Images/The Boston Globe
If you thought I was talking about Kemba Walker, yes, we already know that No. 8 is great and has been this “season” for the Celtics.
In the 50 games played by Walker before the league paused back on March 12th, Walker was pouring in a cool 21.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 4.9 APG’s in helping lead the Green & White to a 3rd place record in the Eastern Conference. Instead, we’re talking about the 8 games the C’s will play as part of the “phase 1” Return-to-Play tournament at the Disney World Wide World of Sports, otherwise known as the NBA Bubble Campus to determine the 2020 NBA Champion still in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The Celtics have already clinched a playoff berth, so there is no concern about a potential early exodus from the campus, but the 8 games they will play do have a defining factor as they sit only 3 games behind 2nd place Toronto and perhaps, with a bit of assistance, a shot at the No. 1 seed.
The games kick off one month from today on July 31st with Boston tipping-off against Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks on ESPN. The C’s have split so far this season vs. the Bucks and will be the biggest challenge faced by Brad Steven’s club in the 8 game seeding season. Kemba, since we’re talking about 8’s? A cool 32pts and 40pts in the two games vs the Bucks.
Game 2 will feature the Dame Time and the Portland Trail Blazers. This team is a shell of the playoff, wait, Western Conference Finalist team that played last year, and while the Blazers did beat the Celtics this season in their lone game, Walker did not play that night.
Tuesday, August 4th will bring the Miami Heat and a very critical game as they sit just 2.5 games behind 3rd place. The C’s have played twice against the Heat this season and calmly won both games, including one in Miami where the Heat were an impressive 27-5 prior to the pause.
The remaining games don’t pose as much concern to the playoff futures of the C’s other than to find some resting time and perhaps test some strategies for the first round of the playoffs. They will see the Nets, Raptors, Magic, Grizzlies and Wizards to close out the mini-season. While the Raptors are ahead in the standings, the Celtics have owned the Raptors this season, despite Toronto being on a 21 out of 25 game win streak before the break. The Celtics own Memphis’s first round draft pick for 2021, so a Celtics victory here not only helps Boston in the standings but helps where they will draft in the first round as well. The Wizards are essentially in the hole for this as they have the lowest possible chance of making the playoffs and since this will be the last game of the season, they will most likely be eliminated and resting their star players.
It’s going to be a wild ride, maybe Mr. Toad can come over and help us out. But anyways, we’re off to Disney and hoping that the Luck of the Irish will reign in Florida and bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Beantown for the first time since 2008.