This Team Would Be Celtics’ Best First-Round Playoff Matchup

The NBA playoffs begin April 16

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The NBA All-Star Game has come and gone and that means one thing: the race to the postseason is on.

The playoffs are set to kick off on April 16 and if the season were to end today, the Boston Celtics may not have the matchup they’d want. Boston would hit the road and square up with the new-look Philadelphia 76ers and MVP-favorite Joel Embiid.

If the Celtics had their way, a better matchup for them would be to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.

The Cavaliers aren’t pushovers by any stretch of the imagination and currently hold the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Celtics have played them well so far this season and matchup well.

Boston has faced the Cavaliers three times this season and are 2-1. The Celtics have won each of the last two matchups and that was before they turned around their season when the calendar turned to 2022.

The Cavaliers are a young impressive squad, but likely are a year or two away from truly competing in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland is led by All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen and potential Rookie of the Year Evan Mobley, but Marcus Smart, Robert Williams and Al Horford would be tough matchups for for them.

Cleveland’s defense is solid — currently ranked fourth in defensive rating — but Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been tough covers for it. Brown only has played in one of the matchups, but tallied 34 points. Tatum also has averaged just under 21 points in three appearances.

All in all any matchup will be tough when the postseason comes around. But if the Celtics stay hot the rest of the way, when the playoffs come around the Cavaliers may give them their best chance of making the second round.

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