BOSTON (CBS) — It took 82 regular season games, but the Celtics have clinched the five seed in the Eastern Conference.
Boston will now face the fourth-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, with Game 1 set for Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Atlanta.
The Celtics finished the 2015-16 regular season with a 48-34 record following their season-ending comeback win over Heat at TD Garden.
The Celtics went 1-3 against the Hawks in the regular season, losing both of their trips to Atlanta and splitting the series in Boston.
Isaiah Thomas led the way for the C’s with 20.5 points per game against Atlanta, scoring 23 points and 10 assists in a 106-96 win over the Hawks back in November. He poured in 29 points in a 109-101 defeat in Atlanta back on December 18, but averaged just 15 points in Boston’s other two losses to the Hawks.
Jae Crowder was Thomas’ running mate against the Hawks, averaging 15.3 points on 44 percent shooting and a team-high seven rebounds per game.
Atlanta power forward Paul Milsap had his way with the Celtics during the regular season, averaging 22.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest. Boston’s perimeter defense struggled against Atlanta in their four regular season tilts, with the Hawks hitting 40 percent of their shots from downtown. Kyle Korver hit 53 percent of his shots from downtown against Boston, while point guard Jeff Teague hit half of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Atlanta averaged 110.3 points per game against Boston, the fifth-highest total of any Celtics opponent during the regular season.
The Celtics have met the Hawks franchise 11 times in playoff history, dating back to their time in St. Louis, and have won 10 of those 11 series. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, Boston beat Atlanta in six games in the first round of the 2011-12 postseason.