BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics are heading back to the postseason. The Celtics clinched their spot in the NBA playoffs Tuesday night with a 114-111 win over the Pacers in Indiana.
The Celtics could have clinched a spot as early as last Friday, but their recent slump delayed the inevitable. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and company are now one of four NBA teams to punch their ticket for the playoffs, joining the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers.
The Bucks are running away with the No. 1 overall seed in the East, and Boston sits three games back of Toronto for the No. 2 seed. With Tuesday’s win, the Celtics now own a two-game advantage over the Miami Heat for the No. 3 seed in the East.
The race to the finish should be a pretty good one for Boston over the final five weeks of the season. The Celtics have won two of their three matchups against the Raptors so far and will have a chance to cut into Toronto’s lead with their fourth and final showdown on March 20 north of the border. Boston has two more matchups with Milwaukee before the playoffs arrive — March 12 in Milwaukee and April 1 in Boston — and two more against the Heat — April 1 in Boston and April 11 in Miami. The Celtics have 18 games left in the regular season, with 10 of them against teams currently in the playoff picture. Of Boston’s eight games in April, six will come against current playoff teams.
But for now, the Celtics can celebrate their sixth straight season of making the playoffs.