Charles Barkley Makes Very Confident Prediction For Celtics-Nets Series

Boston won the regular-season series 3-1

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For the second consecutive season, the Celtics and the Nets will meet in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs.

Brooklyn reserved a first-round date with Boston on Tuesday night when it beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first Eastern Conference play-in tournament game. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 59 points at Barclays Center and powered the Nets to a 115-108 win.

It’s very reasonable to expect Brooklyn’s superstar duo to continue to play at an All-NBA level against the Celtics and give Boston quite a bit of trouble. Reinforcements also might be on the way for the Nets, as the start of the playoffs reportedly could mark the long-awaited return of Ben Simmons.

Still, Charles Barkley believes Brooklyn doesn’t have a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“There’s no way they can beat the Celtics,” Barkley said Tuesday night on TNT. “They got two great players. They both actually played as good as they probably can play (Tuesday). Kevin Durant was fabulous with his passing and his defense. Kyrie was great. But other than that, I know they can’t beat the Celtics now. All these fools on these other morning talk shows can let this ship sail. Both of those guys played great — great — and they barely beat a mediocre Cavs team.”

Durant, Irving and the rest of the Nets very well could use Barkley’s remarks as fuel to their fire. Brooklyn should be looking for added motivation, as one of its own players already provided Boston with some bulletin-board material.

The Celtics-Nets best-of-seven series is set to begin Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. Tip-off for Game 1 is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

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