Celtics Clinch Playoff Berth For Ninth Consecutive Season
The Boston Celtics have officially secured their ticket to the 2022-23 NBA playoffs.
And the best part is they didn’t need to do anything on Saturday night to snag it.
Before the C’s retook the floor for the second half of play against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena, Boston notched its playoff spot for the ninth consecutive time, courtesy of a 113-99 Miami Heat loss to the Chicago Bulls. Either a Miami loss or Boston win would’ve resulted in playoff security for the Celtics, making them just the second NBA team to do so.
Now, with the hump of earning a contention spot, the Celtics can remain laser-focused on reclaiming ownership of the mountain top in the Eastern Conference. But with piling issues constantly playing as factors, Joe Mazzulla’s squad has plenty left to prove despite everything they were able to accomplish by the All-Star break.
Most notably, the Celtics have undergone the challenge of overcoming the absence of defensive anchor Robert Williams, who’s remained sidelined due to a hamstring injury the 25-year-old suffered on March 3 against the Brooklyn Nets. Williams was on the floor running 3-on-3 drills in Utah before the contest began, per video from Jay King of The Athletic.
“I spoke to him yesterday, seems (to be) in a good place,” Mazzulla told reporters before Saturday night’s game, per NBC Sports Boston. “Seems like he’s getting closer. I expect to see him out there soon.”
Mazzulla also hinted at the possibility of Williams’ return with the Celtics during Tuesday’s scheduled matchup with the Sacramento Kings.
Whether or not Williams does suit up against the Kings, the Celtics must adapt and rediscover that next-man-up mindset that propelled them during their first 59 games when they sat as the best team in the league. That includes re-cementing their identity, securing rebounds on both ends of the floor and finding ways to prevent opposing offenses — especially those of subpar caliber — from navigating late-game runs before the playoffs.
With 11 games left, including Saturday’s against the Jazz, the Celtics have enough time to resettle and put together the necessary momentum needed to assemble a deep push toward a return to the NBA Finals.
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