Celtics-Cavaliers Eastern Conference Finals 2017: Playoff Matchup History

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against Amir Johnson of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of a game March 1. (Getty)

They were the top-two teams in the Eastern Conference all season long, and now the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers will meet with a chance to go to the NBA Finals.

The Celtics defeated the Washington Wizards in Monday’s Game 7 to advance to the conference final for the 33rd time.

The Celtics and Cavs have played against each other in the playoffs in six series (34 games). Boston holds a slight edge against Cleveland by two games (18-16) all-time in the playoffs.

Cavs, Celtics Set to Revive Playoff Rivalry

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The two franchises have an even more storied history in the NBA Playoffs that dates back to the 1970s. But they’ve only met in the Eastern Conference Finals once in their storied histories.

During the 1976 playoffs, Boston and Cleveland met conference finals, and the powerhouse Celtics won the series in six games, 4-2.

1976 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland CavaliersNBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers2008-06-02T09:54:46.000Z

It’s been a couple years since the Cavs and the Celtics last met in the playoffs. That was during the 2015 playoffs when they met in the opening round. Cleveland had no problem dispatching of the young Celtics in four games, 4-0.

Cavs look back to 2015 playoff series with CelticsCleveland Cavaliers Tyronn Lue and Kevin Love take a look back at the 2015 playoff series with the Boston Celtics. Love suffered a playoff ending injury in Game 4 of the Cavs’ sweep.2017-05-11T22:33:43.000Z

During the series, LeBron averaged 27 points, 9 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.3 steals to lead the Cavs.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas wasn’t on the tear he’s currently on back then, but still led the Celtics with 17.5 points in the series.

Before that, though, the Celtics were responsible for dispatching the Cavs during the 2009-2010 season.

Boston won three-straight games to take the series, 4-2, and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. That season, Boston advanced to the NBA Finals, but lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-3.

In the 2008 playoffs, the Celtics were the victors in the second round, beating Cleveland in the best-of-seven series, 4-3.

2008 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics vs Cleveland CavaliersAlthough the Celtics had a quick turnaround from their unexpected seven-game series with Atlanta, they managed to hold off the Cavs by winning the first two games in Boston. Kevin Garnett scored 28 points and 8 rebounds and made the go-ahead shot in Game 1. LeBron James would only shoot 8 for 42 from the…2015-10-20T12:55:10.000Z

That season, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and company advanced to the Finals and beat the Lakers in six games, 4-2, to become NBA Champions.

Prior to that season, the two teams hadn’t met since the 1991-1992 season. That second-round series was another thriller, with the Cavs upending the Celtics in seven games, 4-3.

They met in the 1985 playoffs, too. In the opening round, best-of-five series, Cleveland was no match for Boston, as the Celtics won the series, 3-1.

Regular Season Series Favored the Cavs

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LeBron James (Getty)

The two franchises continued their heated rivalry during the 2017 regular season, with Cleveland edging Boston 4-1, and the two establishing themselves as the East’s best two teams.

In an early-season matchup November 3, the Cavs won a close game, 128-122, to take the inaugural meeting of the 2017 season.

VideoVideo related to celtics-cavaliers eastern conference finals 2017: playoff matchup history2017-05-15T22:40:49-04:00

Then on December 29, the Cavs won another close one, 124-118. The Celtics got retribution in the closest game of the regular season slate, 103-99 on March 1, but the Cavs got the best of the Celtics in the last regular season meeting April 5, 114-91.

VideoVideo related to celtics-cavaliers eastern conference finals 2017: playoff matchup history2017-05-15T22:40:49-04:00

LeBron, Thomas Set to Square Off Again

Isaiah Thomas the Boston Celtics drives around LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015. (Getty)

This time around, the Celtics will have their hands full with a hungry LeBron James, who’s excelled this season against the Celtics.

In their four meetings in the regular season, James averaged 29.3 points and 9.5 rebounds. But James was upstaged by the surging Thomas. He averaged 29.5 points and 6.5 rebounds against the Cavs this season during the regular season.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals starts Wednesday in Cleveland. Tip is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EDT and it will be broadcast on TNT.

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