History on Celtics side: Top-seeded Game 1 losers usually win first-round series


BOSTON – The Celtics bandwagon got a little bit lighter following their 106-102 Game 1 loss to Chicago on Sunday night.
They became only the 12th top seed since the 16-team playoff format in 1984 to lose Game 1 of their first-round series against an eighth-seeded team.
And while that’s certainly far from the kind of exclusive company the Celtics would want to keep, all is not lost folks.
Since 1984, the top overall seeds are a collective 56-12 in Game 1 matchups in the first round.
And of those 12 top seeds that lost Game 1 of their first-round series, the No. 1 seed has consistently regrouped and found a way to move on.
Of those 12 top seeds that lost Game 1 of their playoff series, only three of the eighth-seed Game 1 winners (New York Knicks, 1999; Golden State, 2007 and Memphis, 2011) actually went on to win the series.
In other words, this fight is far from over if your playoff pool had the Celtics advancing past the first round of the playoffs.
But for that to happen, the Celtics will have to make some changes, such as improving their transition defense and rebounding.
“They scored 40 points in transition and on the glass,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “That’s a hard thing. We’re going to have to work as a team to cure that. But defensively other than that, our first-shot defense was pretty good. And I felt we got pretty good shots [offensively]. I’m probably more encouraged watching than I was living it.”

And while Boston seemingly did a better job on the boards in the second half (they were out-rebounded 21-16 versus 32-20 in the first half), Chicago’s improved shooting was probably a factor.
The Bulls shot 48.7 percent in the second half compared to just 38.5 percent in the first half.
“It’s hard to get rebounds when the ball goes through the net; they don’t count those. We did come up with all those, though,” quipped Stevens, who added, “We were more engaged blocking out second half; we were better in the second half.”
And for them to even up this series before it shifts to Chicago for Games 3 and 4, they must do what most top seeds do and that’s find a way to advance to the next round of play.
“We’re trying to figure it out. The playoffs are about adjustments,” said Jae Crowder.


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