Boston is a hurting two seed in the upcoming NBA playoffs. They are currently without Irving, Smart and Hayward. Despite these injuries, Boston is still a 58% favorite to advance to round two of the playoffs. Thus, the three seed will face Miami/Washingon/Milwaukee and Boston on the road to the Eastern Conference Finals. The four seed has a decidedly tougher route with Indiana and Toronto. This puts added importance on the game tonight between the two teams fighting for the three seed, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Cleveland currently has a half-game lead on Philadelphia. If Cleveland wins the game tonight, they will have two games remaining against the lowly Knicks and a 1.5 game lead over Philadelphia. With the win Cleveland would be over 94% favorite to lock down the three seed. If Philadelphia wins they would be .5 games up in the race for the three seed, with three games to play. Cleveland would still be an overwhelming favorite to win its two remaining games against the Knicks, and thus finish 51 – 31. Philadelphia would own the tiebreaker, 3-1, and, therefore would need to win two of their final three games against the Mavericks, Hawks and Bucks. A Philadelphia win tonight would make them 76% favorites to win the three seed.
Whichever team claims the three seed, they would be a sizable favorite in a round two match up with Boston. Cleveland would be a 74% favorite to take the Celtics out in a seven game series. Philadelphia would be a 69% favorite to take the Celtics out in the seven game series.