Boston Celtics

Celtics vs. Cavs picks: Roundup of expert predictions for second round

The Celtics are heavily favored to beat the Cavs. Can Cleveland pull off an upset?

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The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers will soon meet for the ninth time in NBA playoff history, with each team having one four of the previous eight series.

The last time the Celtics and Cavs squared off in the postseason was the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics led the series 2-0 and 3-2 but ultimately lost in Game 7 at TD Garden. It was the first and only time the Celtics have ever lost a best-of-7 playoff series after winning the first two games.

But there's no LeBron James on the Cavs roster this time around. The Celtics are heavy favorites for a reason. They finished the regular season with a league-best 64-18 record -- 14 wins ahead of the second-place New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference. The C's made quick work of the Miami Heat in the first round, earning four double-digit victories in five games.

The Celtics ranked second in points scored per game at 120.6 during the regular season. The Cavs ranked 20th at 112.6 points per game. Cleveland averaged just 95.8 points per game in their first-round series versus the Orlando Magic. The Magic held the Cavs under 90 points twice.

Donovan Mitchell likely will score between 25-30 points per game, but which of his teammates will give him some help? One man cannot beat the high-powered Celtics alone. Darius Garland, Max Strus, Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert will need to be far more productive offensively if the Cavs are going to have any chance of making this a competitive series.

The Cavaliers could perhaps get some confidence from their three meetings with the Celtics during the regular season. All of those games were fairly close. The Celtics won twice, but both were by less than 10 points. They also blew a large lead (and lost 105-104) in the third and final matchup on March 5 in Cleveland. If the score is close late in games during Round 2, Mitchell has the potential to play the role of hero for the Cavs.

Which team will emerge victorious in Round 2? Here's a roundup of expert predictions for Celtics-Cavs.

Darren Hartwell, NBC Sports Boston: Celtics in six

John Schuhmann, Celtics in five

Dan Devine, Yahoo! Sports: Celtics in five

Vince Goodwill, Yahoo! Sports: Celtics in six

Ben Rohrbach, Yahoo! Sports: Celtics in five

James Herbert, CBS Sports: Celtics in five

Sam Quinn, CBS Sports: Celtics in five

Stephen Noh, Sporting News: Celtics in four

Richard Jefferson, ESPN: Cavs in seven

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