Celtics Clinch No. 1 Seed in Eastern Conference with Win vs. Bucks

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2017

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 24:  The Boston Celtics huddle up before the game against the Phoenix Suns on March 24, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Boston Celtics locked up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 112-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at TD Garden.      

According to Celtics broadcaster Sean Grande, this marks the second time since 1988 the Celtics have secured the top spot in the East (they also did so in 2008). 

Boston will meet the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls in Round 1 of the 2017 NBA playoffs.            

Although the Celtics split the regular-season series with the Bulls, history suggests that matchup is favorable for head coach Brad Stevens' squad.  

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Bulls are 3-14 all-time against the Celtics in the postseason, which is their worst record against any opponent. Furthermore, all three of those wins came in overtime back in 2009. 

Celtics vs. Bulls Regular-Season Series
DateScore
October 27Bulls 105, Celtics 99
November 2Celtics 107, Bulls 100
February 16Bulls 104, Celtics 103
March 12Celtics 100, Bulls 80
Source: NBA.com

Looking ahead, the No. 1 seed should help the Celtics if they can avoid an upset and pave a path toward an Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers—who settled into the No. 2 seed and a first-round date with the No. 7 Indiana Pacers

While the Cavaliers won a conference-best 31 games at home, they were a lackluster 20-21 on the road and were outscored by 2.4 points per 100 possessions in those contests, according to NBA.com's stats database. 

Those numbers may wind up being an afterthought if the Cavs can consistently summon the effort that allowed them to romp the Celtics 114-91 on April 5 at TD Garden, but they're worth keeping in mind as the postseason gets underway.             

 

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