Celts clinch playoff berth
BOSTON -- Jeff Green scored 34 points, including a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to snap Boston’s two-minute scoring drought, and the Celtics clinched a playoff berth by beating the Detroit Pistons 98-93 on Wednesday night.
Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass scored 17 apiece for the Celtics, who had lost two in a row and seven of their previous nine. But the victory, coupled with Philadelphia’s 88-83 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, left Boston 8 1/2 games ahead of the 76ers with eight games to play.
It’s the sixth consecutive season Boston has reached the playoffs since the New Big Three was assembled in the summer of 2007.
Greg Monroe had 24 points and 17 rebounds and Rodney Stuckey scored 22 for the Pistons.
The Celtics led by as many as 18 points before the Pistons scored the final 11 points of the third quarter and opened the fourth with Jonas Jerebko’s three-point play. Boston went into another scoring slump late in the fourth, going 2 minutes, 9 seconds without a point while Detroit cut a 93-87 deficit down to two points.
But Green hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to give Boston a 96-91 lead. After Monroe got free for an easy dunk on an inbounds play, Jason Terry missed; Charlie Villanueva, who went 2 for 17 from the floor and missed all eight 3-point attempts, missed from beyond the arc for Detroit.
Terry made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to clinch it.
Notes: Monroe’s 17 rebounds were one short of a season high. ... Celtics C Kevin Garnett (left ankle) sat out his seventh straight game, but Pierce returned after missing one game for what coach Doc Rivers said was a personal reason. ... Boston PG Rajon Rondo, who is recovering from a torn ACL, visited his teammates at Wednesday’s shootaround with a knee brace on. ... The Pistons won both previous games this season, both in Detroit. ... Pistons G Jose Calderon was a late scratch with a sore right arm. ... The Celtics bench was called for a technical foul, apparently for arguing about foul calls with 3:19 left in the game and an eight-point lead.
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