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If the NBA playoffs started today, the Toronto Raptors would take on the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Boston Celtics would battle the Miami Heat in the first round. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards are closely bunched in the third, fourth and fifth spots in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers moving down to the fourth or fifth slot, with either the Pacers or Wizards moving up to third place might have implications for Boston.

As it stands right now, a Celtics win in round one would pit them against Cleveland in the second round, assuming the Cavaliers also came out victorious in round one. We have seen what Lebron James can accomplish in the playoffs, and his team has probably improved via trades prior to the deadline. A duel with either Indiana or Washington may be preferable. That may be the pairing if either the Pacers or Wizards take over third place from the Cavaliers.


Boston appears to have a fairly strong hold on the number two slot, but it is the next three spots that hold the intrigue. The Celtics take on the Pacers and then the Wizards in their next two games. Oh, and by the way, if Cleveland drops down to the fourth or fifth spot, assuming they come out of round one victorious, they could end up taking on the Toronto Raptors in round two, thereby setting up a scenario where Boston may need to battle only one of the teams (Toronto or Cleveland) to get to the Finals. The next couple weeks will prove interesting for Boston fans!

Follow Tom at @TomLandHC

Brown photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports
Lebron photo via Darron Cummings/AP

Tom Lane 3/11/2018 11:09:00 AM Edit
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