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2021 NBA Playoffs: East First Round – (2) Brooklyn Nets vs (7) Boston Celtics

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East First Round – (2) Brooklyn Nets vs (7) Boston Celtics – Series preview

(2) Brooklyn Nets

I don’t know where to really write to you about what a season the Brooklyn Nets got themselves into. However, I can say it made out all the better for them to this point. First-year Head Coach, Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni sitting on his bench. Ah, the Head Coach that led James Harden and the Rockets? Yep, the same guy. Let’s get these names out the way next like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Blake Griffin. There is a lot of hardware and rings gloating around these names.

Here is the thing. I know folks are wary of Brooklyn early on in the playoffs and some of it is just wishful thinking that Brooklyn is very vulnerable. The only thing to me that makes this team vulnerable is the fact of health. But you could literally say that about any other team, right? Well, that’s the point. A healthy Nets team is one that the regular season never saw. Another thing I wouldn’t question? How well KD, Kyrie, and Harden play together. At this point in their careers, the experience and success are a nod to favor them even more.

The Nets had a rotating roster of All-Stars in and out of the season and still secured the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. The Nets also managed to finish one game behind the 76ers for the 1st seed and had the 4th best record in the 2020-2021 NBA season.

(7) Boston Celtics

Boston spent Tuesday night tooling around with the Wizards just to prove that Jayson Tatum can help you win ball games without his right-hand man Jaylen Brown. Not that we needed to be proven any further but something about a Play-in Tournament. Anyways, as the 7th seed BEFORE the tournament and after the tournament the Celtics are faced with one of the toughest series one can imagine. The three-headed monster of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. Should they have swallowed some pride and “tank” for the 8th seed against Philadelphia instead?

Brad Stevens after beating the Wizards said, “It’s really hard to make the NBA playoffs,” Stevens said. “Those guys are the best of the best. Going into that, if I’m a fan, a general fan of the NBA, I have a hard time seeing them lose.” Now your Head Coach is probably being brutally honest but I’m here for it. You know you’re down one of your All-Stars in Jaylen Brown. Stevens understands his team isn’t the best team on paper against Brooklyn.

Do we say Boston takes one or two games? Evan Fournier enters the chat as the next best potential scorer for the Celtics behind their top two available players Tatum and Kemba Walker. The frontcourt for the Celtics features Tatum, Tristian Thompson, Grant Williams, and Aaron Nesmith to potentially slow down the Nets super team. The glaring hole in size for the Celtics and loss of Jaylen Brown makes up for the disappointing year for Boston.



Top players to watch

Jayson Tatum: 2020-2021 season

  • 26.4 PPG
  • 7.4 RPG
  • 4.3 APG

Kevin Durant: 2020-2021 season

  • 26.9 PPG
  • 7.1 RPG
  • 5.6 APG

Where should the money go?

The Brooklyn NETS – in 4

Let’s keep this short and sweet and move on to the next round. I’m hungry for the Giannis vs KD showdowns we got a preview of last month.

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
BKN leads 1-0

5/22/21

8:00 PM ET

ABC

Celtics - 93
Nets - 104

Game 2:
BKN leads 2-0

5/25/21

7:30 PM ET

TNT

Celtics - 108
Nets - 130

Game 3:
BKN leads 2-1

5/28/21

8:30 PM ET

ABC

Nets - 119
Celtics - 125

Game 4: BKN leads 3-1

5/30/21

7:00 PM ET

TNT

Nets - 141
Celtics - 126

Game 5:
BKN wins series 4-1

6/01/21

7:30 PM ET

TNT

Celtics - 109
Nets - 123

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How the Celtics can help the Pacers appease Paul George

A lot this offseason has been made of the possibility of the Celtics trading the for Paul George and teaming up with Isaiah Thomas and the rest of the Celtics to try to topple current kings of the east; Lebron and the Cavs. What If instead of wearing Celtic green Isaiah and PG13 make a run at Lebron wearing Pacer blue?

Paul George has been quite vocal about his desire to compete for an NBA championship, but he has also professed his love for Indiana and the Pacer organization, saying in a February interview, “I want to be the first to bring a championship to Indiana. So that’s still on my mind … and something I definitely want to achieve in Indiana.”

Bringing in an All-NBA second team player be enough to persuade him to stay? It’s no secret the Pacers want PG13 to stay and bringing in Isaiah might be the best way to do it. A trade like this makes sense for Boston as it is going to have monster cap issues and a log jam at the guard positions when they presumably draft Markelle Fultz and IT, Avery Bradley’s and Marcus Smart’s contracts all are up after the 2018 season.

Trading Isaiah Thomas helps the Celtics keep most of their core intact and play Markelle Fultz at his primary position as he develops. It also gives Indiana the chance to show Paul George they are serious about being championship contenders.

(Pacers also throw in 2020 unprotected first round draft pick in this scenario)

In this trade, the Celtics get Myles Turner who is starting to look like a potential future all-star in Indiana after averaging 14.5 points 7.3 reb and 2.1 blocks a game in only 31 minutes a game. He also is signed to a very team-friendly contract for the next 3 years and would provide them with the flexibility to resign Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley. Turner might not seem like enough in return for a second team All-NBA player but Turner gives the Celtics what they need most. Rebounding and rim protection, he also is a capable jump shooter which is something Brad Stevens loves to see in his big men. A Celtics core built around Markelle Fultz, Jaylen Brown, Myles Turner and the 2018 Nets pick would be one that could possibly set them up to contend for the next decade, especially with the role players that they already have in place.

The harsh reality is that the Celtics don’t have the talent to beat the Golden State Warriors or the Cleveland Cavaliers anytime soon. Trading Isaiah and building around this new core would allow these young players to develop and as they are entering their primes. Their ascension would most likely coincide with the decline of the current versions of the Warriors and Cavs. Boston isn’t a sports town that hangs Eastern Conference finals banners, its championship or bust. Even with an addition like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin this Celtics team’s ceiling is still Eastern Conference champions, and frankly, that just isn’t enough for Boston fans. This trade would set up both the Pacers and Celtics for long term success, so who says no?

NBA Staff: Eastern Conference Finals Predictions

Celtics (1) vs Cavaliers (2)

Name Team Games
Billy Aristide Cavaliers 5
Wesly Avendano Cavaliers 5
Nate Ledsinger Cavaliers 5
DeMario Jackson Cavaliers 5
Chevall Kanhai Cavaliers 5
Gabe Lloyd Cavaliers 6
Markus Murden Cavaliers 4