BOSTON (AP) — Isaiah Thomas scored 27 points to help the Boston Celtics beat back a fourth-quarter charge and defeat the Brooklyn Nets 114-105 on Monday night to keep alive their hopes of securing the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
The Celtics clinched the Atlantic Division title and can finish with no worse than the No. 2 seed.
With Cleveland’s overtime loss at Miami on Monday night, a Boston win in its regular-season finale against Milwaukee on Wednesday would give the Celtics the No. 1 seed. But if Boston loses to the Bucks and Cleveland wins its finale against Toronto, the Cavs would own the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-1 head-to-head record with Boston.
Al Horford added 19 points and eight rebounds.
Brooklyn trailed by 27 in the third quarter before an 18-5 run got it back into the game.
The Nets got as close as six in the fourth, but Thomas and Horford combined for 15 points in the period to help secure the victory.
Jeremy Lin led the Nets with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Brook Lopez finished with 25 points, and passed Buck Williams to become the franchise’s career leading scorer with a jumper late in the fourth quarter.
Playing on a day’s rest following its win at Charlotte on Saturday, Boston led by as many as 21 in the first half.
Brooklyn also had a day off coming off Saturday’s one-point victory over Chicago, but couldn’t find the basket early on. The Nets missed 17 of their first 20 shots and shot just 27 percent in the opening 24 minutes.
Nets: Sean Kilpatrick (left hamstring) and Quincy Acy (sore left ankle) both sat out and each will also miss Wednesday’s regular-season finale. … Shot just 14 percent (3 for 21) from the field and 12 percent (1 for 8) from the 3-point line in the first quarter.
Celtics: Thomas extended his franchise record to 56 straight games with a 3-pointer. … Improved to 21-5 at home since Jan. 1.
Nets: Brooklyn concludes its season at Chicago on Wednesday.
Celtics: Host the Bucks in their regular-season finale Wednesday.
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