4 Teams that should especially want to avoid Celtics in first round of playoffs

These teams should be seeking to avoid Boston at all costs.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Miami Heat

We are all aware of the recent playoff history between the Celtics and Heat. After the rivalry thrived in the early 2010's in the Kevin Garnett and LeBron James era for each respective club, the rivalry was renewed with Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler both emerging as the alphas of the two Eastern Conference powerhouses.

The current iterations of the Heat and Celtics first met in the Eastern Conference in the Bubble in 2020, with Miami taking home the tightly-contested series in six games. They advanced to the Finals, where they would fall to the Lakers.

Two years later, the script flipped. In 2022, they once again met in the Conference Finals but this time, the series went to seven. The Heat came oh-so-close to pulling it off, but Boston advanced to the Finals, losing to the Warriors.

Last year, the Heat took a dominating 3-0 series lead against the Celtics in the ECF before the Celtics stormed back to win three in a row. Miami would come out victorious from the winner-take-all game seven, proving once again their playoff resilience.

This year, the Heat believe they can beat anyone once again, and there is good reason to believe they can. However, they will not want their toughest matchup right out of the gate. Playing Boston in the first round would be like running straight into a brick wall. Miami can still make another deep run this year, but it is not likely to happen if they get matched up with the Celtics in round one.