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Four things to know as the Celtics take on the Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs

It took a few extra days, but the second round of the NBA Playoffs is scheduled for the Celtics. They will face the No. 4 seed Cleveland Cavaliers in a matchup that has happened many times in recent memory.

The Cavaliers defeated the Magic in Game 7 on Sunday, securing the 4-3 series victory. It initially looked like the Cavs’ season was on the brink as they trailed the Magic by 18 points at home. But they put together a huge run to eliminate the Magic and advance to the East semifinals.

Now the stage is set once again for Celtics vs. Cavaliers, although it has been six years since the two teams met in the playoffs. Game 1 of the series is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at TD Garden. View the full schedule for the second round here.

Here are four quick things you need to know as you move into the second round:

Injury status: The Cavaliers, like other teams, have been beaten up in the playoffs. Notably, big man Jarrett Allen suffered a rib contusion in Game 4, forcing him to miss the final three games of the series. Allen looked like he was going to try to play, but he couldn’t get back. Additionally, Dean Wade hasn’t played a match since early March, missing the entire first-round series due to a knee injury.

How the rib bruise affects Allen will be a major factor going forward. The Celtics will likely be without big man Kristaps Porzingis for the entire second round. While the C’s have the depth to make up for Porzingis’ absence, Allen missing the start of the series would ease some of the burden on Boston.

Personnel control: The Cavaliers have made strides toward competitiveness over the past two years, even though they fell in the first round to the Knicks last season. But they managed to beat a young Magic squad, advancing past the first round for the first time since 2018. They have developed and drafted some key contributors over the years such as Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.

But the name to watch is obviously Donovan Mitchell, who is in his second season with the team. Mitchell had a huge last season, averaging 28.3 points per game on his way to second-team All-NBA honors. He had another solid year, with 26.6 points and 5.1 rebounds, although he played only 55 games as injuries slowed him down. Allen is also a talented big man who made an All-Star team.

The Cavs finished 16th in offensive rating during the regular season, so they were an average team there. But they ranked seventh in defensive rating because guys like Mobley and Allen were a big part of the equation. Elsewhere, expect contributions from Caris LeVert and former Heat guard Max Strus, who are both averaging double-digit scoring. The Cavs also have a pair of former Celtics players in big man Tristan Thompson and forward Marcus Morris.

Choosing their path: Heading into the final day of the regular season, the Cavaliers still had a chance to secure a higher seed. But instead, they rested their boys as they fell to the Hornets to secure a 48-34 record and the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. They likely didn’t make the decision based on playing the C’s in the second round, but instead set up their first round matchup against the Magic. But now they have to face the best team in the NBA after electing to finish fourth in the playoffs.

The Celtics won the season series 2-1 against the Cavaliers. Cleveland had a huge 106-105 win without Mitchell the last time these teams met, as Wade left in the fourth quarter to erase a huge deficit. Either way, the C’s will likely be heavy favorites to advance to the Eastern Finals for the third straight season.

Different appearance: There’s a lot of playoff history when it comes to Celtics versus Cavaliers over the last 15 years or so. But there is one huge difference this season: no LeBron James. When the teams faced off in 2008, 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2018 – Cavs had a 3-2 lead – James was a big factor.

Early on, the Celtics were a thorn in James’ side when Boston won it all in 2008. But James got the best of the C’s in the last three playoff matchups, including a seven-game winning streak in 2018. James, of course, is now sitting on the Lakers and will no longer be a factor starting Tuesday.

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