Boston Celtics: 5 teams road blocking a 2018-19 NBA Finals berth

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(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

With LeBron James taking his talents to the Western Conference, the Boston Celtics are now a favorite in the East, but five teams stand in the way.

LeBron James is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, which means the Boston Celtics no longer have the greatest basketball player in the world in the way of their NBA Finals aspirations.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers no longer a threat (on paper anyways), Brad Stevens and his squad are now the favorites in the East for a couple of reasons.  Yes, the King James throne now resides in the Western Conference, but the team in green came within a game of making it past LeBron this past season.

Not only did they nearly do the unthinkable with youth, they did it without two of their best players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.  With those players returning healthy, the Celtics should be in the driver’s seat this upcoming season right?

If healthy, the answer is yes.  However, that does not mean they won’t be challenged. There are a few teams in the East with players who give the Celtics trouble.  Although Boston was able to surpass a couple of those teams without their star players, they still presented matchup problems that could get in the way of a 2018-19 NBA Finals trip.

So, looking at how the rosters are currently constructed, here are the five teams that can challenge the Boston Celtics for Eastern Conference supremacy.

Milwaukee Bucks

Led by the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the Milwaukee Bucks to the Boston Celtics to Game 7 in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Although it would’ve been a much different series had the Celtics had both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Bucks were a high-powered offense the C’s had problems defending at times.

Winning all their games at home, the Celtics found a way to slow the Bucks by allowing Antekokounmpo get his, but on the road Boston had trouble stopping players like Middleton, Thon Maker (yes Thon Maker) and Jabari Parker.

That could be a problem in 2018-19.  With their roster mostly intact.  The Bucks could be a major factor if they get better coaching.  With the addition of free agent veteran big man Brook Lopez and first-round pick Donte DiVencenzo, the Bucks have improved in size and have added even more shooting.

With how the team’s sized up in the 2018 playoff series, this will be an intriguing matchup to watch in 2019.

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