NBA execs have interesting takes on Celtics as playoffs near


The Boston Celtics are 9-2 against the top three teams in both conferences, which bodes well for their chances of making another deep run in the NBA playoffs.

They have two All-NBA caliber players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and the roster is near 100 percent healthy for the first time in a while. And yet there are still some concerns over the Celtics' ability to get back to the NBA Finals and finish the job after last year's loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Late-game execution, too many turnovers, head coach Joe Mazzulla's in-game adjustments (or lack thereof) and the health of talented center Robert Williams III are some of the main concerns.

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But it doesn't sound like many executives around the league are too worried about the Celtics, even after Tuesday night's ugly loss to the Washington Wizards on the road.

"I wouldn’t worry about Boston — unless you have to go against them in the playoffs," a general manager told's Steve Bulpett. "Then you should worry your a** off."

"Look, they’re still one of the two or three best teams in the league — maybe the best if you just go by player-for-player talent," an Eastern Conference executive told Bulpett. "No one has their depth. But sometimes they don’t play up to their own standard."

Despite Tuesday's loss, the Celtics have still won seven of their last 10 games and own the league's second-best record at 52-24. Boston also is the only team that ranks in the top five of both offensive and defensive rating.

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The Celtics have a couple more marquee games remaining on their regular season schedule. Thursday night's showdown against the East-leading Bucks in Milwaukee is the most notable matchup. If the C's beat the Bucks, they'll clinch the season series tiebreaker and sit just one or two games behind Milwaukee for the No. 1 seed. 

The Sixers are three games behind the Celtics for the No. 2 seed. It's possible, depending on the results of the next few days, that the Celtics could clinch at least the No. 2 seed next Tuesday if they beat the 76ers in Philly. 

So, even though the Celtics know they'll be in the playoffs, there's still something to play for over the final two weeks. This should help keep the team sharp heading into the first round.

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