With the playoff seeding still in flux, the Celtics may not know their first round opponent until the last day of the season. Right now, it is very much still up in the air.
The Celtics could be the 2nd or third seed. Right now, the Celtics are in 2nd place with the Magic a very slight half game behind them. The Celtics have 5 games left: vs New Jersey (31-45) vs Miami (41-36) at Cleveland (62-15) at Philadelphia (40-35) vs Washington (18-60) Of those 5 games, 3 are against teams above .500 and 2 are against sub-.500 teams, although the Wizards with Arenas and Jamison back are a much different team than the one that won only 18 games this season. The Celtics have 3 at home and 2 on the road. With Cleveland 4 games in front of the Celtics, the only thing that seems fairly certain is that the Cavs will remain the top seed.
Orlando has 6 games left, 3 at home and 3 on the road: at Houston (48-28) vs Memphis (22-54) vs New York (29-47) at New Jersey (31-45) at Milwaukee (32-46) vs Charlotte (34-42) Of those 6 games, only 1 is against a team over .500. So, it would appear that Orlando has an easier schedule remaining, even though they play one game more than tne Celtics. Also, the Celtics will play the next 3 games short-handed, without KG, Leon or Scal. The Magic on the other hand have their roster as healthy as it will be for the playoffs. They are missing Nelson, but won't have him for the playoffs either and they have Alston to replace him for the remaining games and the playoffs.
But the murky playoff picture doesn't end there. The 4th through 8th spots are also still up for grabs. As it stands now, the 4th through 9th spots belong to: Seed Team GB 4. Atlanta 0.0 5. Miami 2.0 6. Philadelphia 2.5 7. Chicago 6.0 8. Detroit 6.0 9. Charlotte 9.0
So, there is going to be a battle between Atlanta, Miami and Philadelphia for the 3rd, 4th and 5th spots. And another battle between Chicago and Detroit for the 7th and 8th spots, with an outside chance of Charlotte sneaking in.
The Celtics need to watch the 6th and 7th spots since those would be the teams that they would face if they would finish in the 2nd or 3rd spot. If the playoffs were to end right now, the Celtics would face Chicago, which would seem to be a good matchup for the Celtics. Detroit, who may be a dangerous team in the playoffs would face the Cavaliers and Orlando, in 3rd place would face Philadelphia.
The Pistons and Chicago are in a virtual tie for 7th with Chicago owning the tie breaker if they finish tied. Over the remainder of the season, Detroit has 6 games remaining and Chicago has 5 games remaining. Of Detroit's 6 games, there is only one game against a team with a record above .500. Chicago also has just one game against a plus .500 team. But one of those sub-.500 teams for both Chicago and Detroit is a head to head matchup in Detroit in the next to last game which may be the deciding factor between these teams.
Philly is 3.5 games ahead of Chicago and it seems pretty unlikely that they will slip to the 7th spot, but they are only half a game behind Miami for the 5th spot and only 1.5 games behind Atlanta for the 4th seed. So, by the end of the season, Atlanta, Miami and Philly could flip flop in any order for those 4-6 seeds.
Atlanta in 4th has 5 games remaining with only one of those games against a team above .500, and with 3 of those games on the road. Atlanta has a head to head matchup with Miami at home in their next to last game, which could be very big in deciding the final seeding. Miami, in 5th place also has 5 games remaining. They face 3 teams above .500 including that head to head matchup with Atlanta and a game in Boston. Philadelphia may have the hardest schedule of all with 6 games remaining and three of those vs Cleveland twice (one in Philly and one in Cleveland) and Boston at home. They also have a game against Chicago who will be fighting for their own spot on the list as well as two against Charlotte and Toronto. With the toughest schedule of all the contenders, it is feasible that Philly could drop to 7th or even 8th.
The Celtics may not know their first round opponent or possible 2nd round opponents until the final day of the season. They will have home court advantage in the first round, but it isn't certain that they will have it in the second round. But one thing is certain, the Celtics are getting healthy, and a healthy Celtics team would be very scary for any teams they face, whether the Celtics have home court advantage or not.