First Round Playoff Previews Apr 4, 2021 22:15:35 GMT -5 Tampa Bay Bull Sharks, MemphisGM, and 3 more like this
Post by Miege22 on Apr 4, 2021 22:15:35 GMT -5
EAST: Tampa Bay vs. Boston
How They Got Here
Tampa Bay is the #1 seed at 12-2. They won the Southeast Division.
Boston enters the postseason as the #4 seed, finishing 8-6. They finished second in the North Division.
This is the Bull Sharks' 10th playoff appearance. They defeated Boston in the first round last year before losing to the Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals
All-Time Playoff Record: 13-6
Finals Record: 3-0
Titles: 3 (2012, 2015, 2016)
The Celtics are making their 4th playoff appearance in franchise history. This is their third consecutive year in the playoffs, as well as the third year in a row they've played the Bull Sharks. They have never faced another opponent in the postseason
All-Time Playoff Record: 0-3
Finals Record: 0-0
Regular Season Meeting(s)
The Celtics and Bull Sharks played in week 7 (Feb. 1-7). The Celtics won 6-3.
Statistical Rankings Among Playoff Teams
FG %: 1st (2nd overall)
FT %: 8th (17th)
3PTM: 2nd (2nd)
REBS: 1st (1st)
ASTS: 1st (1st)
STLS: 2nd (2nd)
BLKS: 2nd (2nd)
TOS: 8th (20th)
PTS: 2nd (2nd)
FG %: 4th (9th)
FT %: 3rd (5th)
3PTM: 5th (7th)
REBS: 5th (6th)
ASTS: 7th (11th)
STLS: 6th (7th)
BLKS: 7th (16th)
TOS: 3rd (14th)
PTS: 5th (6th)
Tampa Bay -LeBron James (ankle - out); Domantas Sabonis (ankle – DTD); Jarrett Allen (concussion – DTD)
Boston – Gordon Hayward (foot - out); Eric Gordon (groin - out); Darius Bazley (shoulder – out)
-The #1 seed in the East is 8-3 all-time in their first playoff matchup
-The Celtics' all-time franchise record is 67-123 (regular season)
-The Bull Sharks' all-time franchise record is 123-67 (regular season)
-Like a bizarre version of Groundhog day, the Celtics and Bull Sharks meet for the third consecutive season in the first round.
Is Tampa rolling or are they ROLLING?
Winners of seven straight entering the playoffs, the Bull Sharks are ROLLING rolling. Not content to rest on their laurels, the Bulls Sharks went all in, trading their remaining picks for Chris Paul, Thad Young and Alec Burks at the deadline. They should have more than enough firepower to withstand LeBron’s absence over the next couple of weeks.
Did Boston trade away their best shot?
Well, that depends on who you ask. It’s hard to believe, but just two months ago, the Celtics were putting on the finish touches of a dominant performance against these very Bull Sharks. The win gave them the inside track to clinch the #1 seed. Then Joel Embiid got hurt. And Eric Gordon got hurt. And Darius Bazley went down. With three major injuries, and poor play across the board, Boston decided to sell and play for next year. Ironically, they find themselves in the exact same spot they were in last year: practically DOA against Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay's highlight of the season... week 11 vs. Miami
I think most people, when they see this question, would jump to Tampa Bay’s thrilling win against Western Conference powerhouse Seattle in week 6. However, their win late in the season against Miami is really what set in motion the chain of events opening up the East for the Bull Sharks. They throttled Miami to the point that the Heat decided to sell… and Tampa Bay was one of the beneficiaries of that teardown, landing Chris Paul for a future pick.
Boston's highlight of the season... week 4 vs. Seattle
Boston had a number of big wins, Tampa Bay and Miami come to mind, but their season-saving win against Seattle has to be the choice here. Staring down a 1-3 start with Utah, Tampa and Miami up next, the Celtics pulled out a giant win over a top-notch Seattle team. At that point, the Celtics looked like a formidable threat to Tampa Bay.
Who to keep an eye on for Tampa Bay... Thaddeus Young
Young was borderline untradeable until getting inserted into the starting lineup for the (real life) Bulls. The Bull Sharks jumped on him ahead of the deadline, and he’s paid major dividends filling the stat sheet. One of the rare players capable of a 5x5, he’s yet another all-around threat on this Bull Sharks roster.
Who to keep an eye on for Boston... Gordon Hayward
If the Celtics are going to have any shot at pulling off this upset, they’re going to need Hayward to snap out of the recent funk he’s been in. The Celtics surprisingly grabbed Hayward in the off-season on a solid two-year deal, and he’s lived up to whatever expectations people had for him. Still, Boston is not starting from a place of strength here, so they need Hayward to channel his fantasy superstar past to keep them in it.
Tampa Bay's X-Factor: Jamal Murray
By far the hardest “star” to pin down. Murray is just as likely to drop 40 as he is 4, and that kind of variability can make owners very nervous. Fortunately, Tampa Bay has the reinforcements necessary to protect against bad Murray outings, and good Murray makes them basically unstoppable.
Boston's X-Factor: Bojan Bogdanovic
Bojan burst onto the scene last year after getting (real life) traded to the Jazz. He’s not been nearly as good this year, though, and it’s part of the reason Boston found themselves selling at the deadline. That said, there’s still a lights out shooter in there, and if he catches fire, look out.
Tampa Bay's Reason for Hope... they’re stacked
This is one of the deepest teams in recent history, right up there with last year’s Nets and Sonics, and this year’s Rockets. It’s hard to point to any one player as being their reason for “hope,” but I guess you could point to their dominance in the absence of LeBron James.
Boston's Reason for Hope... hard to say
They sold at the deadline, and Embiid is likely out this whole match-up. In the context of this playoff run, it’s hard to be hopeful about anything.
I'm a neutral observer, why should I root for Tampa Bay?
There are actually some fun storylines here. The Bull Sharks haven’t won a title since 2016. The only player left from that team still on the roster is Zach LaVine (and he even took a minor detour before Tampa Bay got him back via trade). Of course, one can’t forget Chris Paul, one of the inaugural Bull Sharks and a member of the first title team. These two are the threads that connect this franchise from it’s present to it’s past, and in LaVine, likely it’s future.
I'm a neutral observer, why should I root for Boston?
Honestly, I’m just going to repeat what I said last year… “Bottom line: this would be an INCREDIBLE story. If the Celtics, THIS Celtics, somehow managed to win the Finals, then several players will have played the greatest six weeks of basketball of their lives. There's really no other way to explain how big an underdog run this would be.”
Gordon, Eric – IR
Nesmith, Aaron – D-League