With the Brooklyn Nets getting smashed by the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, the Boston Celtics have clinched a playoff berth and have the inside track on getting the No. 7 seed and facing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the postseason.
This is the same Celtics team that traded Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green earlier in the year in order to acquire future assets. This is the same Celtics team that was a season-high 14 games under .500 on Feb. 1 and 13 games under .500 after a dismal overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 22.
Since that loss to the Lakers, the Celtics have gone 18-9 to get their record to the 38-42 mark it is right now. Boston has won four games in a row and six of seven during this playoff push.
The Celtics just beat the Cavaliers twice in a row, but Boston will likely be no match for Cleveland if that turns out to be the postseason matchup. Still, even if the Celtics are beat in the first round, this season has been a heck of a coaching job by Brad Stevens. There has been some solid talent development with the young players on the roster, and Boston has plenty of draft assets and flexibility moving forward.
Needless to say, no matter what happens in the postseason this year, this has been a nice step forward for the Celtics. Now the challenge will be how to take that next step to become an elite team in the Eastern Conference.