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Seventh seed watch: Pistons out 04.14.09 at 12:21 am ET
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The Boston Celtics still don’t know who they will face in the first round of the playoffs, but one thing they do know is it will not be the Detroit Pistons. On Monday night the Pistons got locked into the eighth spot with a 91-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls. They will play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. So with two days left in the regular season, the battle for the sixth and seventh seeds is still up for grabs between the Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls have a half-game lead over the Sixers heading into Tuesday.

6. Chicago Bulls (41-40)
Wednesday, April 15 vs. Toronto Raptors

7.  Philadelphia 76ers (40-40)
Tuesday, April 14 vs. (2) Boston Celtics
Wednesday, April 15 @ (1) Cleveland Cavaliers

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First round still up for grabs 04.12.09 at 11:00 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics locked up the second seed in the Eastern Conference on Saturday, but their first round opponent is still uncertain. This weekend the Chicago Bulls rose to the occasion, the Detroit Pistons continued to be mediocre, and the Philadelphia 76ers came up short. With only three days left in the regular season, the sixth, seventh, and eighth seeds are still up for grabs.

6. Philadelphia 76ers (40-40)
The Sixers are slipping on a five-game losing streak. This weekend they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, putting their hold on the sixth spot in jeopardy as they gear up to face the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

Rest of the season:
Tuesday, April 14 vs. (2) Boston Celtics
Wednesday, April 15 @ (1) Cleveland Cavaliers

7. Chicago Bulls (40-40)
The Bulls enter the final week of the regular season on a four-game winning streak, including Saturday’s victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. They will wrap up the season at home where they are 28-12.

Rest of the season:
Monday, April 13 @ (8) Detroit Pistons
Wednesday, April 15 vs. Toronto Raptors

8. Detroit Pistons (39-41)
Despite beating the New Jersey Nets on Friday, a loss on Saturday to the Indiana Pacers landed the Pistons one game behind the Chicago Bulls in the eighth spot. They are 1-2 this season against both of their upcoming opponents.

Rest of the season:
Monday, April 13 vs. (7) Chicago Bulls
Wednesday, April 15 @ (5) Miami Heat

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Allen reveals favorite five shooters at 4:59 pm ET
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ABC revealed Ray Allen’s five favorite all-time shooters during Sunday’s game against Cleveland:

Reggie Miller
Dell Curry
Dale Ellis
Craig Hodges
Michael Cooper

No Celtics? Allen’s list includes players who have burned him in the past, just as he has done to so many other teams during his career.

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Celtics lock up second seed 04.11.09 at 11:32 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics locked up the second seed in the Eastern Conference after the Orlando Magic lost to the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night. Not only did the Magic fall to the third spot, they also lost Hedo Turkoglu in the fourth quarter after he suffered a sprained ankle. They were already playing without Rashard Lewis (knee). The Celtics are 2.5 games ahead of the Magic and four behind the Cleveland Cavaliers, who they face on Sunday afternoon.

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Eastern Conference weekend guide at 3:19 pm ET
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While the Boston Celtics-Cleveland Cavaliers battle is a must-watch on Sunday, there are several other games to keep an eye on this weekend that could impact postseason match ups:

Saturday, April 11

(3) Orlando Magic @ New Jersey Nets: 7:30pm EST

(7) Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets: 8:30pm EST – WGN

(8) Detroit Pistons @ Indiana Pacers: 7:00pm EST – NBA TV

Sunday, April 12

(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (2) Boston Celtics:  3:30pm EST – ABC

(5) Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks: 6:00pm EST

(6) Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors: 6:30pm EST

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Celtics riding momentum to Cleveland 04.10.09 at 11:31 pm ET
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When the Boston Celtics arrived in Cleveland in January, they had just dropped their third consecutive game and were in the middle of their longest losing streak since last season. The following game, the Cavaliers blew them out by 15 points.

But thanks to a grind-it-out victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night in Boston, the Celtics are riding the momentum of a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game in Cleveland. (Click here for a recap) They will try to make a dent in the Cavs’ four-game lead of the top spot, and while head coach Doc Rivers conceded the number one seed weeks ago, the Celtics are looking to build on their two-game lead over the Orlando Magic for the second spot.

“Every game is a big game for us,” said Paul Pierce. “We’re trying to lock up the number two seed. I think Cleveland locked up the number one seed tonight, so we’re trying to lock up the number two seed. So every game is big for us. We’re only [two] games in front of Orlando, so these last three games we feel like we have to win them all.”

With less than a week left in the regular season, the Celtics have to tackle Sunday’s game as if it were a Game Seven situation. The Cavaliers are sure to as they battle against the Los Angeles Lakers for the number one overall seed.

“Everybody we play from here on out is basically trying to achieve something,” said Tony Allen. “So each game is playoff-like. We’re going in there with a clear focus that we need to win just as badly as they do because they’re competing with L.A. We’ve got to take it as a must-win game that we need because we’ve got goals that we need to achieve too. It’s going to be a tough fight.”

The Celtics will turn to their bench to help carry the team without Kevin Garnett. Friday’s win against the Heat was a confidence-booster for the reserves.

“You play a little looser. You play with a little more confidence,” said Mikki Moore of playing on a winning streak. “But we just have to concentrate on the defensive end. We’re pretty sound on the offensive ends. As long as we don’t have too many turnovers and we play solid defense, we’re alright.”

As for Ray Allen, he is simply looking forward to putting a blemish on the Cavaliers’ near-perfect 38-1 home record.

“They take care of what they have to take care of, we take care of what we have to take care of,” he said. “I think we know where we stand, but as a team it will be a great win on the road for us and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

The Celtics and Cavaliers will face off at 3:30pm EST on Easter Sunday.

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Powe expects to practice Monday at 7:07 pm ET
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Leon Powe hasn’t played since spraining his knee on St. Patrick’s Day. He expects to return to practice on Monday, and he doesn’t want his teammates to go easy on him either.

“Oh no, no, no. I wouldn’t even practice. I wouldn’t even come to practice,” he said with a laugh prior to the Boston Celtics’ game against the Miami Heat. “No, don’t go easy on me. I want to go in there full speed. You’ve got to go at me so I can test it out.”

Powe is making so much progress, in fact, that he said he is “very much ahead of schedule.” He completed a 30-minute workout with assistant coach Clifford Ray on Friday, focusing on his legs with sliding, cutting, jumping, and post move drills.

But team doctors are still proceeding with caution. They have asked him to wear a brace as a preventative measure to avoid other players banging into his knee. Powe doesn’t like it – taking it on and off is the worst part, he says – but he knows it’s part of the recovery.

Head coach Doc Rivers still does not expect Powe to play before the playoffs.

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