The Boston Celtics are looking really good this season. They are 35-15 with sole control of the three seed in the Eastern Conference. I think it's safe to say that aside from a catastrophic collapse, the Celtics will be back in the playoffs. Now the question is, who should the Celtics want in the first round. Personally, I'll take my chances on just about anybody in the East except for the Bucks in the first round. But just for fun, let's look at a few ideal matchups for the Celtics in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
If there's any team I would want in the first round, it would be the Orlando Magic. The Magic continue to hold onto the 8th seed in the East with a 22-29 record. But, the Magic just don't matchup well with the Celtics. The Celtics took home a victory last night over the Orlando Magic 116-100.
Keep in mind that the Celtics did not have the services of Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis in this one. That's two starters and your sixth man/replacement starter we're talking about here. It took a bit of time, but the Celtics finished off the Magic in the fourth quarter. The Magic struggle on the road, as they are 9-17 when away from Amway Center. In a seven game series, especially with four of them being on the road, the Magic do not have that much of a chance in this potential series matchup. This would probably be the Celtics' easiest road to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Brooklyn Nets would be a fun matchup for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious reason would be the return of Kyrie Irving. Irving was injured during the Nets trip to Boston in November. If you remember correctly, Irving didn't even make the trip up to Boston. The fans of Boston? They didn't take too kindly to that gesture, as the boo birds were out in full force. Kyrie, for his part, didn't take too kindly to that either.
Kyrie having to come to the Garden for at least two games would add to the matchup that much more. Plus, let's not pretend that the Nets stink here. They are actually a hard-working team that likes playing with each other. The Celtics better take advantage of this matchup if it happens, because once Kevin Durant comes back into the fold the Nets will become difficult to beat.
Should the Celtics fall into the four or five seed, they'll most likely matchup with the Indiana Pacers again in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. If you recall, last season the Celtics took care of the Pacers four games to one. I don't think it would be very different. The Celtics have more depth this year in my opinion than they did last year. The two J's have taken more responsibility, and it has shown in their record. Victor Oladipo might give Kemba Walker some troubles. Other than that, I don't see any mismatches from the Pacers that should concern you as Celtics fans. If the Celtics keep up the pace that they are currently on the Pacers probably won't be in the picture. It would still be a fun rematch nonetheless.
There is still about half a season to be played. The Celtics could fall anywhere between the two seed and the five seed. It's always fun to talk about playoff predictions early on in the season. Until then, let's keep enjoying the ride that has been a fun Celtics season up to this point. Oh, and let's hope they get healthy before the playoffs start too. Let's go Celtics!