The 2022 NBA Playoffs are around the corner. With just a couple of weeks left in the regular season, the Eastern Conference playoff picture is beginning to form. On Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat were two teams the East had its eyes on.
Not only were the Celtics and the Heat competing against each other down in Miami, but the results of the matchup played a crucial part in whether one of the two teams would punch their ticket to the playoffs or not.
A Celtics win over the Heat, and a Cleveland Cavaliers loss to the Dallas Mavericks would've sent the Celtics to the playoffs. However, Boston came up short to the first-seeded Miami Heat.
With the Heat defeating the Celtics on Wednesday, all eyes were on the Toronto Raptors and the Cavaliers. A Raptors loss would've sealed the deal for the Heat to make the playoffs, but Toronto blew out the Minnesota Timberwolves.
However, the Heat were fortunate to see the Cavaliers take on a 120-112 loss to the Mavericks. The Heat clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with that Dallas win. Now, the Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks are the two teams in the East to watch on Thursday night.
Possible Playoff Scenarios
So, the Celtics couldn't get it done on Wednesday night, but they'll have their eyes on the Cavaliers once again on Thursday as the matchup between the Cavs and the Atlanta Hawks becomes critical.
If the Cavaliers fail to defeat the Hawks, the Celtics will officially clinch a spot in the playoffs this season.
As for the Bucks, they could clinch a spot in the postseason as well. If Milwaukee can defeat the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, then they'll shift their focus toward the Cleveland versus Atlanta matchup, as a victory and a Cavaliers loss would allow the Bucks to snag a spot in the postseason too.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.