Is it Too Late to Save the Top-Seeded Celtics?

The Boston Celtics won 53 games in the regular season, but that seems like a long time ago considering they’ve been an absolute train wreck two games into the playoffs. Such is life in the postseason.

Fresh off two consecutive defeats to the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls, the No. 1 seed Boston Celtics are in full-blown panic mode right now. With the series shifting to Chicago for Game 3 on Friday, it's important to remember the C’s haven’t won a game in the Windy City since November 2014. Yikes.

Sportsbook opened Boston as a 2-point underdog with an OVER/UNDER of 207 for the tilt.

The Celtics are the 24th NBA team to lose Games 1 and 2 at home in a best-of-seven series, but only three of those squads went on to advance to the next round. The last time that happened was in 2005 when the Dallas Mavericks erased a 2-0 deficit en route to a triumph over the Houston Rockets in seven games.

It gets even worse when you factor in their placement at the top of the conference. The NBA is often criticized for lacking parity – which is sometimes warranted – and that’s become very apparent in the first round over the years.

This is only the second time in NBA history that the top seed has lost the first two games to the eighth seed. The 1993 Phoenix Suns dropped the first two games of their series with the Los Angeles Lakers but managed to rattle off three straight wins to stave off the upset. It was a best-of-five format back then, though, so the Celtics would become the first franchise to lose a seven-game series if they aren’t able to mount a comeback.

Everyone knows the Celtics have major rebounding problems – a trend that’s once again popped up in the playoffs – but their defense has been downright porous of late. Boston has allowed over 100 points in 13 of its last 15 games and at least 110 on five occasions. There haven’t been any injuries to players who are normally considered plus defenders in that span; this team is simply collapsing on that end at the wrong time.

Keep an eye on our NBA odds page for all of the need-to-know line moves ahead of tipoff in Game 3.

Here's a look at how NBA teams down 2-0 have done in NBA playoff history:

NBA teams that have won the series after trailing 2-0
Year Series Sportsbook Series loser Round
1969 Boston L.A. Lakers NBA Finals
1969 L.A. Lakers San Francisco Western Division Semifinals
1971 Baltimore New York Eastern Conference Finals
1977 Portland Philadelphia NBA Finals
1993 Chicago New York Eastern Conference Finals
1994 Houston Phoenix Western Conference Semifinals
1995 Houston Phoenix Western Conference Semifinals
2004 L.A. Lakers San Antonio Western Conference Semifinals
2005 Dallas Houston Western Conference first round
2005 Washington Chicago Eastern Conference first round
2006 Miami Dallas NBA Finals
2007 Utah Houston Western Conference first round
2007 Cleveland Detroit Eastern Conference Finals
2008 San Antonio New Orleans Western Conference Semifinals
2012 Oklahoma City San Antonio Western Conference Finals
2013 Memphis L.A. Clippers Western Conference first round