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Before the NBA season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Boston Celtics were poised to finish the regular season strong and cruise into the postseason.
The C's boasted a 43-21 record and had already clinched a playoff berth before the season was suspended. They currently hold the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and are only three games behind the second-place Toronto Raptors.
Since this weekend was supposed to mark the first day of the 2020 NBA playoffs, we went ahead and simulated the entire postseason 10 times with the NBA 2K20 video game. We picked up where the Celtics' season left off on March 12, and we got some interesting results.
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Here's how each of the 10 simulations went:
In our first sim, the C's finished with a 56-26 regular season record which was good enough to earn the No. 3 seed. They met up with the Indiana Pacers in the first round.
Here's how things went from there:
Boston made quick work of Indiana, but Toronto proved to be too much to handle in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Although it was an entertaining seven-game series, Celtics fans were left disappointed as their impressive season came to an end.
Kawhi Leonard went on to win his second consecutive championship as his Los Angeles Clippers dominated the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals, taking home the Larry O'Brien Trophy in five games.
OK, let's try this again. Another first-round matchup with the Indiana Pacers as the No. 3 seed, this time after finishing the regular season at 54-28. Can Boston make it through the second round?
This time, the Pacers got the better of the C's in a stunning first-round upset. In the Eastern Conference Semis, Indiana went on to suffer the same fate as the C's did in the first simulation by falling to Toronto.
Once again, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers became NBA champions. Leonard defeated his former team in an exciting seven-game series.
No Indiana in the first round this time. In our third simulation, the Celtics earned the No. 2 seed (56-26 regular season finish), which set them up for a matchup against the Orlando Magic.
Did jumping up a seed make a difference? Let's find out:
Those pesky Raptors did it again. The C's once again fell to Toronto in the second round, this time in six games.
Oh, and guess who went on to win the title? Yep, the Clippers again to make themselves 3-for-3 in our simulations thus far. They beat the Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets in the NBA Finals. We have no idea how they managed to cruise through the Milwaukee Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers, but crazier things have happened... right?
Oh boy. The No. 4 seed doesn't really bode well for Boston, especially after coming up short in our previous sims as the No. 2 and 3 seeds.
This time, the Celtics have an interesting first-round matchup vs. the Miami Heat. Here's how it all went down:
The C's were able to edge out the Heat in the first round. Then, they took down a Magic team that somehow defeated the mighty Bucks in six games.
But we're sensing a trend here. In the Eastern Conference Finals, it was Toronto once again ending Boston's season. The NBA 2K Celtics just can't seem to figure out the Raptors.
The Raptors were unable to finish the job, though, as they fell in the NBA Finals to the Denver Nuggets in five games.
A strong finish to the season to give the Celtics a 57-25 record still wasn't enough to move up to the No. 2 seed, so here we have another first-round matchup vs. the Pacers as the No. 3.
Is the fifth time the charm?
Well... at least they finally were able to defeat the Raptors. That has to count for something, right?
The Sixers ended the Celtics' season in the Eastern Conference Finals, beating them in five games and then going on to take home the NBA championship by taking down the Clippers in five.
The Celtics struggled big time in the final stretch of the season and ended with a 51-31 record that set them up with the No. 5 seed. Yuck.
Their first-round series this time was against the 76ers. Not exactly the series you want to start the playoffs with if you're the C's, but let's see if they could overcome their end-of-season issues.
A rough end to the regular season proved costly as Boston had no answer for the Sixers in the first round, losing the series 4-1.
LeBron James went on to earn his fourth NBA title by sweeping his former team, the Miami Heat.
A 57-25 regular season record, the No. 3 seed, and a first-round matchup vs. the Nets. Can the Celtics finally make a run?
Yes. Yes, they can. Our seventh simulation had Boston raising Banner 18 after an extremely impressive postseason run.
Brooklyn gave the Celtics a tough test in the first round, but Boston went on to win that series in seven games. After that, it was full speed ahead for the C's, who swept both the Raptors and Bucks then finished things off with a thrilling championship win over the Clippers in a seven-game series.
Kemba Walker was your NBA Finals MVP, averaging 20.9 points per game along with 4.7 assists.
Let's see if the C's can do it again. Another matchup vs. the Pacers in the first round after finishing the season 56-26 and earning the No. 3 seed.
The C's started off red-hot, dominating Indiana in a first-round series sweep. But again, it was the Raptors getting the better of the Celtics by taking them down in a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals showdown.
LeBron's Lakers became NBA champs by sweeping the Sixers in the Finals. So if you're keeping score so far, the two L.A. teams are faring pretty well in these simulations.
Oh, look, it's those Pacers again.
Another 56-26 finish to the season set the C's up for the No. 3 seed and another first-round series vs. Indiana.
Boston again had no problem sending the Pacers home, but then they went on to lose to... Brooklyn? What is going on here?
Philadelphia put an end to the Nets' run in the Eastern Conference Finals, then ruined Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks' title chances by defeating them in the Finals, 4-1.
In our 10th and final sim, the C's headed into the postseason with a 55-27 record, the No. 3 seed, and yet another first-round matchup vs. the Pacers.
Unfortunately for Boston, it was unable to finish strong as it was swept by Giannis and the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
That set up a LeBron vs. Giannis matchup in the NBA Finals, and it was LeBron emerging as the winner in a seven-game thriller of a series.
So to wrap things up, here's the final tally of championships from our 10 playoff simulations:
We simulated the Celtics' playoff run 10 times: Here's what happened originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston