The NBA postseason is right around the corner and, considering just how well the Boston Celtics have been playing of late–undefeated over their last five outings, 21-3 over their last 24, and 46-28 overall on the year–it’s not a controversial statement to say that they could realistically find themselves attaining championship No. 18 when 2021-22 is all said and done.
That said, while we at HH, along with a bevy of other Boston Celtics fans out there are confident in this squad’s abilities and that the C’s can beat every team eligible for this year’s playoffs on any given night, this is not to say that, should they be able to receive a, say, easier path to a deep run they wouldn’t take it.
Sure, we’re still confident that even in a dogfight type of postseason as a whole Boston would still have a fair shot at taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but if they had their pick of the litter, they’d almost certainly look to square off against some of the least menacing foes the league would have to offer.
Now, if this were to be the case and the shamrocks could pick their ideal playoff matchups, when it comes to the first-round the folks at Bleacher Report believe that the Charlotte Hornets should be the team’s choice.
Despite the fact that they are one of the highest-scoring units in the association (rank fifth on the year at 114.8 points per game) and are led by second-year point guard phenom, LeMelo Ball, writer, Zach Buckley, believes that Buzz City’s lacking defensive abilities and underwhelming overall star power would likely lead to the Celtics having an all-out field day should they ultimately end up meeting in round one:
"It’s all about stars in the NBA postseason, and Charlotte’s aren’t quite ready for this stage.There could be a point in time—perhaps in the near future—when LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges can form a championship-caliber duo. It’s just not happening now.The Hornets defense leaks too often, and the offense isn’t explosive enough to consistently compensate for that. Charlotte doesn’t have a Tatum stopper. Boston could have a Ball stopper in Marcus Smart.This just isn’t a good matchup for the Hornets on paper, and honestly, it shouldn’t be. These teams are on different timelines. If the Hornets make it to the opening round, they will have done their job and made this season a resounding success. The Celtics have much bigger goals, and based on the last few months, they have a real chance of realizing them."
With the way things currently stand, if the regular season were to end today the Boston Celtics would find themselves gearing up for a home tilt against the Chicago Bulls while the Charlotte Hornets would be participating in the play-in tournament, squaring off against the Atlanta Hawks, a team that, if they make it to the playoffs, we believe could be viewed as a challenging opponent for the C’s.
With eight games separating us between now and the end of the regular season, we could see quite a few shakeups take place which, in turn, could go on to impact who the C’s wind up facing in the first-round, and, in Buckley’s opinion, they’d likely love to see said shakeups translate to a quarterfinals matchup against the Hornets.