The No. 1 seed,that means a lot to Isaiah Thomas Jersey

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The No. 1 seed,that means a lot to Isaiah Thomas Jersey

Messaggiodi Helena il 13 aprile 2017, 1:10

Just five days ago, after getting dismantled by the Cavaliers in the final head-to-head meeting between the teams at TD Garden, it seemed highly unlikely that Boston could find a way to get ahead of the Cavaliers, who owned the head-to-head tiebreaker after winning three of the four regular-season meetings.
It seemed even less likely when the Celtics fell to the Atlanta Hawks the next night on the road.
BOSTON -- The Celtics control their own destiny in their quest for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Boston's 114-105 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, combined with the Cleveland Cavaliers' overtime loss to the Miami Heat, leaves the Celtics one game up in the East with one game to play.
With a win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks in Wednesday's regular-season finale, the Celtics will secure the No. 1 seed and guarantee home-court advantage through the Eastern Conference finals.
Al Horford added 19 points and eight rebounds. Avery Bradley finished with 18 points and five rebounds.
"It shows that we're starting to play the right way," Bradley said.
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.
Lopez started slowly, but passed Williams with a turnaround jumper on the baseline with just over 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter. He said he didn't take moving to the top of the Nets' record books lightly.
"It's a great honor, obviously a lot of amazing players have played here," Lopez said. "I'm just proud to have my name up there with those guys."
But those same Hawks rallied from a 26-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun the Cavaliers in overtime Sunday. Cleveland, playing without many of its key bodies Monday night, including LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, watched as the Heat overcame a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to win in overtime.
Celtics players could be heard reacting to the Cavaliers-Heat game from the trainer's room inside TD Garden after Monday's game. Thomas, speaking after the Heat prevailed, reveled in Boston controlling its own destiny.
"It says a lot about this team," Thomas said. "We've been through ups and downs, been through a lot of injuries this year, haven't been that healthy for the most part. But we just kept going. It says a lot about who we are. No matter what the situation was, we just kept going and tried to continue to get better each and every game. That's what we did, and we put ourselves in a good position at the end of the season."
For his part, Celtics coach Brad Stevens was less willing to play up the importance of seeding before the Nets win.
"Whatever seed we get, we get, and that's the result of an 82-game schedule, not one or two games, and it is what it is," Stevens told reporters. "We've had a pretty consistent year with regards to performance, but we've also had games where we haven't played as well. You just hope you're playing as well as you can. I'm literally not talking about it with the team at all, nor am I losing one second of sleep over it."
The Celtics won their first Atlantic Division title since the 2011-12 season with Monday's victory. Stevens admitted that "in Boston, you only talk about one goal, right?" But Thomas did take some pride in the accomplishment.
"I've never won [a division title], so yeah [it means something]," Thomas said. "All these things that we're doing this year, it means a lot to me.
"We just want to, I guess, just control what we can control, really. At the end of the day, that's all we can worry about. We can't worry about anything else, so we gotta be locked in. Especially for the last game -- continue to play the right way, get some more momentum going into the playoffs."
That win keeps Miami's playoff hopes alive. The Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Heat are jockeying for the final two spots in the East and the right to play the Celtics or Cavaliers in the opening round.
The Cavaliers host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. If Boston stumbles against Milwaukee, the Cavaliers can claim the top spot with a win.
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