The Boston Celtics can assure themselves of no worse than the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with a win Friday night in Miami coupled with a Milwaukee Bucks loss in Atlanta. Boston holds a three-game edge on Milwaukee with four games to play in the regular season and its magic number is two given that the Bucks own the head-to-head tie-breaker after winning the season series.
Looking in the opposite direction, the Celtics are 2.5 games back of sixth-seeded Atlanta and still have the potential to climb, but with Boston ready to rest veteran bodies over the final games of the season, it's unlikely the team will shuffle up.
The New YorK Knicks saw their 13-game winning streak snapped Thursday night in Chicago, but a Boston-New York matchup remains the most likely scenario for the 2-7 matchup in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks hold a two-game edge over the Pacers. Boston might be able to help determine its own first-round opponent when Indiana visits TD Garden on Tuesday.
A look at John Hollinger's projected playoff odds, which predict the East will maintain order: