Early scheduling info leaks on Celtics’ 1st-round playoff series

Orel Dizon
3 Min Read
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics won’t know their first-round playoff matchup until after the play-in tournament. However, the schedule for their series opener appears to have been leaked, and it might take place next Sunday afternoon.

Boston has been in a league of its own in this campaign and is seven games better than the top three seeds in the Western Conference. Furthermore, there is a wide gap between the Celtics and the rest of the Eastern Conference.

It remains to be seen if the Celtics can take things to the next level in the playoffs. They have to be wary of the possibility of upsets, though, as they surely remember when the Miami Heat eliminated the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

The Heat’s inspiring 2023 postseason run also included a series victory over the Celtics — who held the second seed — in the Eastern Conference Finals. The first three meetings went Miami’s way before the Celtics almost became the first team to successfully overcome a 3-0 hole, forcing a Game 7.

Boston ran out of gas in the deciding contest, with star Jayson Tatum performing dismally on offense after injuring his ankle early.

Only time will tell if the Celtics learned some valuable lessons from last year’s heartbreaking defeat. They did bring in some reinforcements in the 2023 offseason. The front office has provided Tatum and Jaylen Brown with additional help in the form of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis.

It will be interesting to find out which team gets the privilege of taking Boston on in the first round.

The Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks will face off in the lower bracket of the play-in tournament, with the winner of that contest battling the loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup.

At the moment, the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and Heat are battling for the final two guaranteed playoff spots in the East. So, the league will have to wait until the very end of the regular season to know which two of those four teams will participate in the play-in.

Notably, the Celtics have a winning record in this campaign against each of their possible first-round opponents, except the Hawks, with whom they split their regular-season series 2-2.

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Orel's passion for sports stems from following Michael Jordan’s last title runs with the Chicago Bulls and his namesake Orel Hershiser’s Cleveland Indians tenure in the late 1990s.