BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA Playoffs are still a few weeks away, but things are looking good for the first-place Boston Celtics.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to stay healthy, the Celtics are playing some of their best basketball. They’ve won eight of their last 10, with strong play on both ends of the floor.
The Celtics look poised to make it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time under head coach Brad Stevens, but they’re going to need everyone on the roster to step up if they want to go on a deep playoff run. Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman of CSNNE joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming postseason, and said it can’t be all Isaiah Thomas on offense if the C’s want to make some noise.
“Isaiah has to prepare himself because he’s going to get beaten up. When he drives to the basket, like he does all the time in the regular season, when he goes to the basket in the playoffs, someone is going to knock him down. Not that they haven’t knocked him down, but they’ll knock him down every single time he goes to the basket. How he reacts to that, how the team reacts and who can pick up slack [will be key],” said Gorman. “I think it’s unfair to expect Isaiah to score 30 every night, because teams will have a chance to prepare for him every night.”
Thomas was putting MVP-like numbers up for a good chunk of the season, averaging 29.1 points per game, but it’s been a much more balanced attack during the four-game winning streak. Jae Crowder has averaged 17.3 points on 53 percent shooting, with Avery Bradley averaging 15.3 points. Gorman said it will be important to have the offense run through Al Horford in the playoffs, with the C’s big man averaging 13 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists over the last four games.
“Other people stepping up will be the key. I think they have the personnel to step up, but that will be the key,” said Gorman.
As for potential matchups, Gorman said the Celtics should be able to handle the Miami Heat in the first-round if that’s how things play out, but the Heat could extend the series longer than Boston would like. If the Celtics can get their first playoff series win under Stevens, Gorman said he’d much rather see the C’s play the Washington Wizards than the Toronto Raptors in a potential second-round matchup.
“The Toronto we see in fourth place is not the Toronto we’ll see in the playoffs if [Kyle] Lowry is 100 percent. When Lowry is 100 percent, that’s a really tough team and a really tough arena to play in,” said Gorman. “I don’t really think the Celtics want to play Toronto. They’re never going to say anything as to who they’d rather play, but I think they’d rather play Washington than Toronto.”
Gorman also touched on the struggling Cavaliers, and Fred’s travel: