Celtics to face familiar foe Kyrie Irving, Nets in first round of NBA Playoffs – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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BOSTON (WHDH) – The Boston Celtics will square off with familiar foe Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Irving scored 34 points and Kevin Durant added 25 points to help the Nets knock off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in opener on Tuesday night, setting up a rematch of last year’s first-round series.

Boston secured the second seed in the East with a 139-110 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night. With superstars Irving and Durant healthy, Brooklyn enters this playoff series versus Boston as a more dangerous than the usual No. 7 seed.

The Nets eliminated the Celtics 4-1 in the first round last season but Durant expects this rematch to be a battle.

“It ain’t going to be that easy, I’m going to tell you that,” Durant said after the Nets beat the Cavaliers 115-108.

Irving spent two seasons playing alongside Boston’s top scorers, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, before departing the Celtics for the Nets following the 2018-19 season.

“I know that team very well and they know us very well and it’ll be a back and forth,” Irving said. “Once you throw that ball in the air, you’re going to really see some spectacular basketball.”

The Celtics have been on a heater since the start of the new year and ended the regular season with the league’s top defensive rating and top half-court defensive rating. They are also first in half-court offensive rating since Feb. 1.

Boston will be without center Robert Williams when the series tips off Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. Williams underwent a successful partial knee meniscectomy at the end of March. The Nets will likely be without guard Ben Simmons, who continues to battle back problems.

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