The long-awaited NBA playoffs are set to begin in a month.
This year has the play-in tournament before the playoffs, which will be from May 18th to May 21st.
The 16 team traditional playoffs will begin on May 22nd.
We are at the time of the season where teams begin to ramp up the effort or take their foot off of the gas.
It all depends on where you are as a franchise and in the playoff hunt.
With the play-in tournament format, more teams are vying for a playoff spot.
Now the teams that are in the one through eight spots need to decide which way to go.
There is to try and hold firm on the spot they are in now, or find a way to rise, or fall, to the seeding they want.
There are two teams that need to improve their seedings before the playoffs begin.
The Boston Celtics have been on a roller coaster ride all season long.
They were hit early on with Covid and safety protocols as they were trying to gain their footing.
As the season began to progress, they showed a lack of effort and comradery as well.
All of this led to them falling down the standings and fighting to be above .500.
The Celtics have begun to get on track recently.
They have gone 8-2 in their last ten games, which has moved them up to the sixth seed in the East.
Our starters threw a knockout punch at the start of the fourth quarter that led to our fifth straight win, and our ninth in our last 12 games overall. https://t.co/zOS9LeWSSK
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 16, 2021
The goal for them is to now try and get that fifth or fourth seed because of the top three teams in the East.
Boston should try their best to hold off from playing the Nets, Bucks, or Sixers in the first round.
They are currently lined up to play the Bucks in round one.
However, they are only one game back from the fourth seed at the moment.
The Dallas Mavericks are similar to the aforementioned Boston Celtics due to health and safety protocols hindering them early on.
Luka came in out of shape, in addition to injuries to Kristaps Porzingis throughout the season.
The Mavs have regrouped and are now positioned at the seventh spot in the Western Conference.
The seventh spot in the West would be fine any other year because of how challenging that conference is.
This season, however, is very different.
The reason for that is the play-in tournament.
The seventh seed has to play in this tournament and if the Mavs lose their first matchup, they can play against the Human Torch; Stephen Curry.
Mavs’ owner, Mark Cuban, has voiced his frustration with the play-in tournament and how it is unfair.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 13, 2021
It is too late, however, as the Mavs are looking at that tournament as more of a reality.
They are 1.5 games back from the sixth-seeded Trail Blazers and they needed to continue on with making a push for that spot.
The Mavs have 16 games left in their season.
If they want out of the play-in tournament; Dallas needs to act now and fix their seeding.