TALE OF THE TAPE

NBA Playoffs: Celtics vs. Cavaliers

The Boston Celtics are back in the playoffs, though their run likely won’t last too long with a first-round matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers are a premier team in the NBA, led by their trio of stars, while the Celtics roster is made up of young players, other team’s spare parts and a few castoffs. But led by head coach Brad Stevens, the Celtics won 40 games in 2014-15 (15 more victories than last season) and went on an incredible run in the second half of the season to sneak into the playoffs.

Read: 5 Matchups To Watch

The Celtics have 150-1 odds to win it all, while the Cavs are 11-5, so yeah, it’s a bit of a David vs. Goliath matchup we have on our hands. But the Celtics put up a fight in nearly every game this season, and that likely won’t change for however long they keep their postseason alive.

Boston Celtics
Cleveland Cavaliers
(Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Starting Five
It's hard to find the star in the Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, Brandon Bass and Tyler Zeller starting five, but they've been getting it done for Brad Stevens.
Winner If LeBron, Irving and Love aren't enough, J.R. Smith is also knocking down shots in the Cavs' starting five.
Bench
Winner Isaiah Thomas is Boston's scoring star, and he provides that spark off the bench. But the C's bench is a lot more than just Thomas, with guys like Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko also making big impacts down the stretch.
The Cavs don't really have much of a bench aside from Iman Shumpert, but Tristan Thompson is a solid rebounder off the bench and Matthew Dellavedova brings some energy to the floor. Oh, and Kendrick Perkins is there to pull down some rebounds and scowl at everyone.
Offense
While they struggled to find offensive consistency this season, Boston averaged 101.4 points per game. That increased to 102.3 points per game after the All Star break.
Winner Led by LeBron's 25.3 points per game, the Cavs put up 103.1 points per contest this season. They also came on stronger after the break, averaging 105.1 points per game.
Defense
The Celtics might own a slight edge here, just because they play solid team defense. They held opponents to just 99.4 points per game and averaged 18.6 points off turnovers following the break -- ranking them seventh in the NBA in that category.
The Cavs held opponents to 98.7 points per game this season, good for a +4.4 point differential.
Head Coach
Winner Brad Stevens has asserted himself as one of the best young coaches in the league, and many have already dropped "young" out of that title all together. His after-time out plays have been phenomenal at the end of games, and he gets the most out of everyone who steps on the floor.
LeBron is a pretty good head coach, but that Blatt guy really slows him down sometimes.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Celtics have the better bench and coach, and their defense may be a shade better, but the Cavs starting five is far superior to Boston's and outweighs everything else. While the Celtics won't go down without a fight, the Cavaliers will likely take the series in no more than five games.

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