1. Best case scenario is nabbing the 6-seed
Unfortunately, the C’s are who we thought they were: a little too old, a little too injury prone, a little too weak in the middle, and a little too late. What that gets you is mediocrity, which is pretty much what the Celtics showed in the first half of the game-compacted lockout season. Will they finish the season below .500? No. They’ll squeak into the playoffs as a seventh or eight seed, and if that’s the case, it’s a first round exit courtesy of the Heat or Bulls.
2. Health will eventually come ... or will it?
The C’s limped into the All-Star break, but it appears as though they should be relatively healthy to start the second half. Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Wilcox had minor dings and Brandon Bass is scheduled to be back in the next game or so. But how long can they stay healthy? It seems like every week there’s something else plaguing a player or two on the C’s, and they truly can’t afford any more injuries to their big men. You can’t plan for injuries; you just have to fight through them as a team. The C’s have done OK in that department thus far.
3. Danny Ainge could go one of 300 different ways
Ainge knows that this team isn’t good enough to win the whole thing. Some people are calling for him to blow it up at the trade deadline. But the Celtics already have a ton of money coming off the books at the end the season, and as long as Dwight Howard and Deron Williams hit free agency, Ainge will have enough cap space to offer them both max contracts. It’s a long shot, but it’s the best chance to compete for a long time, and unfortunately, the high risk of waiting for that chance is the C’s reality.