BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics have clinched the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. While both teams are red-hot entering the postseason, Cleveland is certainly favored, as King James looks to earn his first title for his hometown team. In the NBA, especially in the postseason, it’s all about matchups.
Here are the five most critical matchups to look for when the Celtics and Cavs take the hardwood this weekend.
1. Marcus Smart vs. Kyrie Irving
On one end, you have a score-first point guard who can drop 50 any given night (and drop another 50 the next night), and on the other a defensive-minded rookie who is as tough as they come. Kyrie’s offensive ability will certainly put Smart’s defense to the test, as Irving poses a threat driving to the basket as well as lighting up the perimeter. It will also be interesting to see how Smart defends Kyrie when LeBron brings the ball up the court. Does he help with LeBron driving? Does he stay glued to Kyrie to prevent a three? It is a big test coming up for the rookie point guard.