Previewing a potential Cavaliers-Celtics Playoff Matchup

A preview of a possible playoff matchup between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The NBA has been on the rise for many years behind the great commissioner of Adam Silver and will try to continue to exceed standards. A blockbuster trade that went down August 20, 2017, involving unexpected players getting traded from each the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers took the league by a roar. So what better way to begin the NBA season than with these two teams playing each other? Racking in over 5.6 million viewers that night, it became the second most viewed NBA opening game in history. The hype was real for obvious reasons.

Kyrie Irving was known to be on the move after the trade request he proposed to Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert, after losing in the finals to the Golden State Warriors the previous season. Then it became a reality for Irving, not just any other trade though but the trade of the offseason. Coming by surprise to everyone, Danny Ainge sealed the deal to send Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and an unconditional first round pick next year to the Cavaliers for former No. 1 draft pick, Kyrie Irving. The most surprising player involved in the trade though was the moving of Celtics 2016-17 MVP candidate, Isaiah Thomas. Thomas averaged 28.9ppg in Boston while also leading them to an Eastern Conference Finals series against the LeBron James led Cavaliers the previous season. But as most everyone in the NBA says when a trade happens, this is not just a game it’s a business too and strict business decisions have to be made sometimes.

It looked from the beginning that Kyrie did make the right choice, asking to get the hell out of Cleveland as soon as possible; especially the way it was looking when the Celtics spanked Cleveland back on January 3 at TD Garden by fourteen. In which that was during the time Cleveland was in a slump taking multiple losses to below average, mediocre teams.

Then retaliation came at the trade deadline when the Cavaliers were a part of a 3-way trade with the Sacramento Kings and the Utah Jazz. Cleveland dealt Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert and a 2020 second-round pick while acquiring George Hill and Rodney Hood. Since this trade the Cavaliers have beaten the Boston Celtics, which happen to lay on the same night as Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement. Then another win against the star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder. Between the two games Cleveland averaged 120.5 points per game; and in case you forgot, this is all without Kevin Love. With that being said, nobody as seen this new Cavaliers roster on the court fully loaded yet.

This brings to attention that the Celtics also have not been seen on the court fully loaded, besides the first six minutes of the NBA opening game when Gordon Hayward suffered that season ending injury. (Ankle dislocation / Tibia fracture)

But was it actually season ending?

Doctor Bill Mallon, worldwide known American Orthopedic Surgeon voiced his thoughts, or should I say ‘tweeted’ his thoughts the same night of the Gordon Hayward injury, here below.

There is a speculation around the NBA whether or not Gordon Hayward will or should make his return this season. Is it risk over reward? Or is it reward over risk in this situation? Brad Stevens has not eluded much on the idea of Hayward making a return this season, but Stevens does frequently bring up how great and fast of a recovery he is having. I guess you could say this somewhat fits the description of what Doctor Mallon tweeted the night of the injury, that it wasn't as bad as it looked.

With the sample size of games that we have got to witness this season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, there are a few things to articulate on when discussing a possible meeting of these two teams in the playoffs. If the season were to end right now the Boston Celtics would receive the No. 2 seed playing the No. 7 seed Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers would receive the No. 3 seed playing the No. 6 seed Indiana Pacers in the first round. Second round, the Eastern Conference Semi-finals is where the two teams would have a chance at meeting with Boston getting home court advantage if seven games are required.

The three games that we have seen between the two teams, they were pretty well rounded when it came to statistics. Cleveland averaged against Boston 103.7 points per game whiles Boston averaged against Cleveland 100.0 points per game. Total rebounds between the teams in the three games are only a two rebound differential favoring Boston. Field goal percentage between the teams stands at 42.0% from the field for the Celtics and 44.6% field goal percentage for the Cavaliers.

  Photo taken by Erik Drost

As far as the teams stand now, the Celtics have been on a small slump sitting at 40-19, while a lot of people are prematurely confirming that the Cavaliers are locking up the East since their recent trades and the last two wins now with a record of 34-22.

A reunion between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in the playoffs playing against each other is something that has been anticipated since the blockbuster trade happened before the year. Who would get the better of it 'The King' or 'The Kid?'

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