Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) shoots at the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, April 3, 2022, in Boston. Credit: Steven Senne / AP

The Boston Celtics may have opened their series as betting underdogs against the Brooklyn Nets but one star NBA analyst thinks the No. 2 seed will have an easy time against an undermanned Brooklyn squad.

Charles Barkley weighed in on the matchup on Inside the NBA Tuesday night after the Nets beat the Cavs to earn the No 7 seed.

“There’s no way they can beat the Celtics,” Barkley said. “They got two great players. They both actually played as good as they probably can play [on Tuesday]. Kevin Durant was fabulous with his passing and his defense. Kyrie was great. But other than that, I know they can’t beat the Celtics now.

“All these fools on these other morning talk shows can let this ship sail,” Barkley continued. “Both of those guys played great — great — and they barely beat a mediocre Cavs team.”

The Celtics are expected to be without Robert Williams for the matchup and that has made some Nets believe their is an opening to take down the hottest team in the Eastern Conference for the past three months.

“I mean, we can’t let Tatum get 50,” Nets guard Bruce Brown said after beating the Cavs on Tuesday night. “We got to be physical with them. Now they don’t have Robert Williams so they have less of a presence in the paint. We can attack Al Horford and Theis. Them not having Rob Williams is huge.”

However, the Nets’ superstars have taken on a far more complimentary attitude about their first round matchup that will be a rematch from last year’s postseason.

“It’s going to be a great test,” Kyrie Irving said. “I know that team very well — and they know us very well. It’ll be a back-and-forth, and once you throw that ball in the air, you’re going to see some spectacular basketball. So I’m looking forward to it.”

“We respect our opponents,” Kevin Durant added. “We don’t need to talk about what we’re going to do them. I just don’t like that. But that’s just how Bruce is, he comes in and he keeps the same energy throughout the whole season. But we don’t need to say (expletive) like that, let’s just go out there and hoop.”

Game 1 of the Celtics-Nets series tips off on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. EST at TD Garden.

Story by Brian Robb,