The Boston Celtics come into their quarterfinals matchup against the Brooklyn Nets listed as a 4.5-point favorite in game one and an overall favorite to advance to the next round, so when one sees the folks at Bleacher Report pegging them to win the series, it should come as no surprise to the faithful followers of the storied franchise.
That said, with B/R’s prediction, they also believe that this first-round will end up going the distance, seeing a Game 7 being held back at TD Garden which, to some, is viewed as a bit longer than expected.
Now sure, there are certainly a fair amount of pros and cons attached to playing this Nets team in the first round, but considering how well-rounded they’ve been, coupled with their 31-10 record since the mid-way point of the year and their 3-1 season-series record against Brooklyn, it is well believed that Ime Udoka’s squad should have a rather easy time breezing past their divisional rival in the upcoming series.
Writer Andy Bailey, however, believes that though he anticipates a Boston Celtics victory overall, by no means will achieving such a feat be easy:
"Durant is undoubtedly one of the scariest playoff performers in the league. Kyrie has had some legendary postseason moments. Robert Williams III is out with a knee injury (though he’s progressing toward a return).But with Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics still have more options against those stars than most teams. And while Al Horford may not have the mobility and athleticism of Time Lord, he’s a heady and experienced anchor.With that and the level of offense provided by Tatum (29.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.7 threes with a 40.2 three-point percentage over his last 33 games) and Brown (27.1 points over his last 12), Boston should have enough to squeak by.That word is chosen carefully, though. It’s hard to imagine Durant going down without a fight. And in at least two or three games, he and Kyrie should get enough help from the likes of Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and Bruce Brown to secure some wins. Getting to four wouldn’t be surprising.But the Celtics are ascending at a rate no one else can match. Since January 1, Boston’s plus-12.3 points per 100 possessions is first (and almost three points ahead of the second-place Phoenix Sun)."
Still, with just how well the Boston Celtics have played during their second-half stretch and, most notably, even after Robert Williams went down with a left meniscus tear, should they pick up right where they left off when it comes to their high-end two-way play, we at HH believe that Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and co. are capable of downing the Nets well before Game 7.