2022 NBA playoff predictions: Expert picks for every first-round matchup, including Celtics handling Nets

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After an 82-game regular season and a riveting, exciting play-in tournament, we are now ready to finally begin the 2022 NBA Playoffs, with as wide-open a field as we’ve seen in recent memory. While the NBA doesn’t often see many major first-round upsets, this year we have some intriguing matchups that could lead to some unexpected results.

The series many will be watching from start to finish is the matchup between the No. 2 Boston Celtics and the No. 7 Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference. The Nets were a preseason favorite to win the title, but endured injuries, part-time players and a mid-season trade that led them to a disappointing regular season. They showed off their firepower in the play-in win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, however, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving comprising anything but a normal seventh seed. The powerhouse duo facing off against Boston’s league-best defense is guaranteed to be quite a show.

Out West, the biggest intrigue comes from the matchup between the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks and No. 5 Utah Jazz. Dallas will be without MVP candidate Luka Doncic for at least the first game of the series, which dramatically swings the odds in Utah’s favor. Because of Doncic’s usage rate and responsibility offensively, the Mavericks seem less equipped than some teams to survive without their superstar.

With the playoffs set to begin on Saturday, our CBS Sports NBA experts have taken a stab at predicting every first-round series.

First-round picks

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