The Boston Celtics became just the second team in the NBA to clinch a playoff berth on Thursday night after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-109.
Kyrie Irving led the way for the Celtics while flirting with a triple-double. Irving had 23 points, 8 boards, and 7 dimes for his squad. Al Horford followed closely by contributing 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Everyone who attempted a shot scored for Boston.
The only other team to secure a spot in the postseason thus far is the Toronto Raptors who currently lead the way in the Eastern Conference. Toronto has won nine of their last 10 outings, and are now riding the wave of a six-game win streak.
Since the All-Star break, Boston has played great as well. The Celtics won six of their last seven, with the sole loss coming at the hands of James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Their bench production has seen incredible improvement, and have been able to contain bigs such as Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, and Karl-Anthony Towns; all players that systematically cause problems.
This playoff appearance will be head coach Brad Stevens’ fourth out of his five seasons since entering the NBA. He is also on track to see a better record at the end of the season from last year’s squad, which would mean the overall W/L has improved every season under Stevens’ reign.