It’s a neck-and-neck race between the Celtics and Chicago Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference. But which team will end up as the No. 1 seed, guaranteeing home court throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs?
The C’s are 29-6 at home this season — and 21-13 on the road. The Bulls are 31-4 at home, but just 19-15 on the road (prior to last night’s games). With those numbers in mind, it’s pretty clear that home court is important.
If the two teams end up meeting in the playoffs, it could easily come down to a decisive Game 7. But is it really worth overworking the players for wins now, potentially costing games in the playoffs due to injury or fatigue?
That’s the question that head coach Doc Rivers must deal with over the next few weeks. Let’s take a look at both sides of the eternal debate:
CASE FOR NO. 1 SEED:
The No. 1 seed’s obvious perk is home court to start and finish a series. Playing in front of the home crowd and being close to “home” are two things that give one team an advantage over the other. That said, a No. 1 seed would most likely avoid a matchup against the Miami Heat in the second round. Sure, the Heat have struggled a bit, but the C’s would rather not play with fire.
CASE AGAINST NO. 1 SEED:
Look no further than Monday’s win over the Knicks. The game had all the makings of playoff atmosphere: two playoff teams, a big venue and a rivalry renewed. What did the Celtics do? They overcame a large deficit, a constant attack and a ruthless fan base. The truth is, the C’s get up for big games — and every postseason game is big.