NBA: 3 most entertaining potential first-round playoff matchups

DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports) /

4-seed Chicago Bulls vs. 5-seed Boston Celtics

Ah, the 4-5 matchup. On paper the most balanced a playoff series can be, the 4-5 matchup never fails to deliver a competitive matchup (disregard my Knicks against the Hawks last season).

The Chicago Bulls have built something special. A franchise that’s been eh for years now finds itself as a contender in a loaded Eastern Conference. DeMar DeRozan has had an emergence as a legitimate star in this league and is putting together an MVP-caliber season. Zach LaVine is perhaps one of the league’s best Robins and is averaging roughly 25 points incredibly efficiently.

Lonzo Ball has finally hit his stride and is having a really solid all-around season, shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc. People often disregard Nikola Vucevic’s impact on this team as well. The problem I can see the Bulls running into is the lack of bench scoring. The Bulls currently rank 3rd to last in bench scoring, which in the playoffs with starters playing bigger minutes may not even be an issue at all.

The Celtics once looked like a team destined for the play-in tournament. However, Boston has finally hit their stride and have gone 13-2 in their last 15 games. They haven’t been beating up on lottery teams either as they’ve destroyed the Heat and the Sixers on this stretch. Jayson Tatum is a superstar, averaging 28 points per game along this stretch. Jaylen Brown has established himself as one of the league’s best two-way wings and is a great complimentary star for any contending team. They also have some other solid pieces in Derrick White, Marcus Smart, and Robert Williams.

This matchup would no doubt be competitive and with the season series being split 1-1, there’s no reason why this can’t be a 7-game series.