Revisiting Celtics playoff history vs. their three potential first-round opponents

Following Monday's night 114-100 debacle at the TD Garden, the Celtics remain in the same uncertain territory that they've been in for over a month.

Since March 1, in some shape or form, Atlanta, Miami, Boston and Charlotte have held the 3-6 seeds in the Eastern Conference. However, with two days remaining in the 2016 regular season, the playoff picture still is muddled.

Prior to the Hornets loss, Boston's likely first round opponent appeared to be Miami. According to ESPN's BPI, there was a 53.9 percent chance for a Heat-Celtics matchup.

Nothing has been decided and more importantly, if Monday is any indication, outcomes are just hard to predict with this foursome.

While we anxiously wait for what's coming in the near future, here's a brief look back at Boston's postseason history with these opponents.


Spanning three Celtics championship eras, from the days in St. Louis before moving to Atlanta, the Hawks have by far the most postseason history amongst the trio. The Celtics and Hawks have linked up 11 times in postseason. Boston owns a 10-1 series record.

Moments include:

-The Celtics defeated Atlanta in six games in a first round matchup in 2012.

-A Zaza Pachulia/KG rivalry ended after Garnett flattens the Georgian with a screen during 99-65 Game 7 first round victory in 2008.

-'Nique vs. Bird...enough said.

-Arguably the greatest quarter in Celtics history, bludgeoning the Hawks 36-6 to close out Atlanta in Game 5 in the 1986 ECSF.

-The only time Bill Russell lost in the NBA Finals was in 1958, as the Celtics fell to Bob Pettit and the St. Louis Hawks in six games. It is the only title in Hawks' franchise history.


Celtics-Heat has only taken place three times in the postseason, but of the trio, Miami easily elicits
the most dislike.

Interestingly enough, tensions were already high before LeBron ever decided to take his talents to South Beach thanks to a KG elbow to Quentin Richardson's head. LBJ only added to one of the fiercest rivalries in recent memory.

Moments include:

-In a 2010 first round matchup, Pierce drains a Game 3 game winner at the buzzer, en route to a 4-1 Celtics series victory.

-In Game 3 of their 2011 ECSF matchup, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo get tangled up as they battle for a loose ball. Wade tries to hold Rondo back before both players end up falling to the floor. Rondo uses his left arm to break his fall, but with the weight of Wade falling on him, Rondo gruesomely dislocates his left elbow. Miraculously, Rondo returns to the game and playing with virtually one arm, leads Boston to an inspiring 97-81 victory.

-Meeting up the next year, LeBron James scores the final ten points of Game 5 as Miami pulls away late to get the victory and end the Celtics' season.

-Late in Game 5, with the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals tied at two, Pierce drains a contested three-pointer over the outstretched arms of LBJ, propelling to a 94-90 Celtics victory.

-LeBron. 2012 ECF. Game 6. 45-15-5...yeah...


Boston and Charlotte only met in the postseason once, but that four-game series in 1993 was the start of arguably the darkest stretch in Celtics history.

Boston would not have another winning season until 2002. And while many NBA fans will remember the image of Alonzo Morning laying on the hardwood with his arms raised in victory, Celtics fans will only remember Reggie Lewis collapsing to the parquet floor.

Moments include:

-Alonzo Morning's series clincher over Xavier McDaniel.

-Some guy named Dell Curry averaged 12.3 ppg in the series, including 5-11 from three-point land.

Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PatBernadeau