With the Philadelphia 76ers coming down the stretch hot and cold, depending on which night you watch them, they will probably end up with the sixth or seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
As of today, the Sixers stand in sixth and two games ahead of the New York Knicks. New York has been in a freefall recently and have won just three games in their last 10.
Both the Sixers and the Knicks have the ability to get hot and make a run before season's end. If the Knicks were to make their run and get past the Sixers, Philly would then likely play Boston in the first round.
The Boston Celtics boast a pretty tough matchup for any team. However, the young Sixers have played them very well this season. They are 1-2 against the Celtics. Their loses were by one and four points.
If the Celtics take Philly lightly, they may be in for an early exit.
Here's how the Sixers matchup with Boston, position by position.
While both point guards are very young, they both are making huge strides in their careers this year.
Rajon Rondo is averaging career highs in assists and steals. In fact, he is a very close second in leading the league in assists per game. He is averaging 11.3 APG.
Jrue Holiday, on the other hand, is emerging as one of the faces of the Sixers franchise.
In only his second year, Holiday is averaging almost 14 points per game and getting over six assists per night.
Both players exhibit what you want out of a point guard. Both are distributors of the basketball and are capable of running an offense. They also have the ability to score and provide offense for their teams.
Both point guards are very good, but Rondo fits in better with his surrounding cast.
Shooting guard is the only position where the Celtics will have a total mismatch.
Ray Allen's ability to shoot the ball quickly and efficiently is hard to defend for anybody.
Jodie Meeks plays good defense, but he would only be able to do so much against Allen.
In the two Boston wins, Allen led the team with 22 and 23 points. In the Sixers' win, Allen struggled and only scored five.
Hmmm...interesting. If Meeks can keep an eye on Allen and limit his scoring, the Sixers steal a game or two.
If not, it is lights out.
Small forward is where the Sixers have their best matchup.
Andre Iguodala has been playing his best basketball this season and is the key reason why Philly has been playing so well.
Paul Pierce, on the other hand, is a known staple in the Boston lineup. He leads the team in points and is second in assists.
Pierce has been known as a better playoff performer and takes all the clutch shots for the Celtics. Don't be surprised if he takes multiple late game shots in the series. It will be a great series matchup to watch because Iggy can be such a good defender.
Elton Brand has been healthy all season long and is showing why the Sixers paid him $80 million.
Brand is not putting up impressive numbers, but he does all the little things right. He gives the team a much-needed post presence that they have been missing since God knows when.
Kevin Garnett, although he is past his prime, is still one of the best power forwards in the league. The intensity he brings and the determination to win every game make him the leader on the Celtics.
Coach Doc Rivers continues to limit the star's minutes so that he will be fresh for the playoff run. Garnett is just too athletic and will be just too much for Brand to handle.
Spencer Hawes has turned into a great acquisition for the 76ers. He provides the team with a frontcourt presence, as well as some offensive playmaking ability.
Hawes is very athletic for his size and has great range. He is averaging over 10 points a game against the Celtics.
Some people question the trade of Kendrick Perkins at the deadline, but Nenad Krstic has put the critics to rest.
Krstic has come in and played very well for Boston. He provides a little more athleticism and offense than Perkins did.
One reason why the Sixers are playing so well is because they have a deep team. They usually have a 10-man rotation each night, giving bench players time to contribute.
The Sixers have one of the highest-scoring benches in the league (39.6) while the Celtics have one of the lowest (26.7).
Jeff Green certainly helps Boston, but the Sixers have multiple guys coming off the bench that can score and provide a spark.
Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young lead the way off the Sixers bench combining to average over 26 points a game.
This matchup would definitely be one of the better series in the first round.
The Sixers have proven that they can play with Boston and that they can beat them.
However, that is in the regular season. In the playoffs, Boston takes their game to a whole new level. Their experience will squeak them by Philly in the first round.
Celtics in six.