Poll: Would In-Season Tournament title mean anything for Celtics?
The Boston Celtics surged into the knockout round of the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament with a 124-97 romp of the Chicago Bulls last night at the TD Garden.
Entering the game, Boston trailed both Orlando and Brooklyn in the tiebreaker scenarios which came down to point-differential in the group stage matchups. Orlando (3-1) was a +22 with a head-to-head victory over Boston, while the Nets were a +8 but lost their head-to-head vs. the Celtics. So, the simplest way to boil it down was to say the C's needed to win by at least 23 points last night with the Magic idle in order to advance in the tournament, and that's exactly what they did in bludgeoning the Bulls by 27.
The win allowed the C's to take Group C and earn the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will now visit the No. 2 Indiana Pacers next week in the tournament's quarterfinal round. A win would advance the C's to Vegas, the site of the semis and final.
Still following? I typed it and barely am. That's been the biggest issue with the league's new cup, that it's all over the place, baked into the regular season schedule (save for the championship game) and involves odd tiebreakers like point-differential.
As an avid European soccer fan, I get the concept. The NBA basically copy and pasted the format of a tournament like the Champions League and applied it to fit their own parameters. However, in soccer, goal difference is a little simpler as you're dealing in much smaller numbers. The competitions also are not blended, like the league has chosen to do by including the tournament as part of every team's regular season schedule.
It's been a somewhat choppy rollout for fans, players (multiple players admitted to not understanding how the tournament worked at the beginning of the season) and coaches as well, like the situation that arose last night in Boston, when a perturbed Billy Donovan confronted Joe Mazzulla as to why he was running up the score.
To this point, the tournament has seemed more of a sideshow than an engaging competition. Will you care if the Celtics capture the first-ever In-Season Tournament championship?