The last time the Boston Celtics met the Cleveland Cavaliers was at TD Garden for the Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Not only did Celtics lose the game (135-102), they also lost the series (4-1). This October 17, the Celtics will have their first chance to avenge their loss to the Cavaliers at the opening day of the 2017-18 NBA Season.

The two teams will meet two more times during the regular season; however, this first game against the Cavs will be the most important for the Celtics organization and its fans. Two reasons: (1) avenge their loss, and (2) gauge their strength against the enemy.

The new Boston Celtics team

Like most NBA teams, the Boston Celtics have undergone major changes during the offseason. Gone are two starters, Avery Bradley (SG) and Amir Johnson (PF), and backup center Kelly Olynyk. In all, a total of seven players were waived, traded or have decided to sign with another team. And yet, the offseason is far from over.

According to Celtics Blog, the team has added length and strength while simultaneously allowing head coach Brad Stevens to continue playing small ball. Big man Al Horford will be backed by the frontline tandem of Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes who both spent their last two seasons with the Detroit Pistons. Plus, the Celtics finally signed the 7’0” Croatian Ante Žižić.

At 5’9”, isaiah thomas has always been seen as the weakest link when it comes to defense. Now, he will be complimented with a much taller Marcus Smart who stands at 6’4” or even the 6’7” Jaylen Brown. New recruit Gordon Hayward takes the No. 3 spot with Jae Crowder and rookie Jayson Tatum coming off the bench. Meanwhile, former Brooklyn Nets backup point guard Shane Larkin will come off the bench for Thomas.

The next Eastern Conference champion is...

ESPN gathered a panel of 44 experts to rank the top three teams which could possibly become the 2017-18 Eastern Conference champions. Thirty-four voted for Cleveland while 10 of these experts chose to side with Boston.

They cited three glaring reasons why the Boston Celtics could dethrone the Cleveland Cavaliers.

First, if Cleveland loses Kyrie Irving. Many of them believe that with Kyrie out, the Celtics could have won Game 4, and who knows, it could have gone either way. Second, the Celtics have Gordon Hayward and rookie sensation Jayson Tatum. And third, they hope to see a better Jaylen Brown.

Kyrie Irving for Jayson Tatum

Lately, Tatum’s name has been tied to a possible trade. And this is not just a simple trade -- it involves the biggest, most surprising name in the offseason, Cleveland CavaliersKyrie Irving.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Cavaliers have shown interest in Tatum, along with other young NBA superstars like Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Josh Jackson (Suns) and Jamal Murray (Nuggets).

Boston has not offered any deal yet but they have enough firepower that will surely entice the Cavs front office. So the question now is - are we going to see Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving playing together?