Celtics Clinch 2022 NBA Playoff Berth with Cavaliers' Loss to Hawks

Erin WalshApril 1, 2022

DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 26: Jayson Tatum #0 high fives team mate Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics during the game against the Detroit Pistons on February 24, 2022 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. 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 2022 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics clinched a spot in the 2022 NBA playoffs Thursday with the Cleveland Cavaliers' 131-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. 

This is the eighth straight season Boston has reached the playoffs and the 14th time in the past 15 years. Powered by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics are looking like one of the most promising teams in the league. 

Both Tatum and Brown are averaging more than 20 points per game this season and have played integral roles in the team's success. However, Marcus Smart remains one of the team's best defenders and has finally begun clicking with Tatum and Brown. 

In addition, the Celtics brought back Al Horford and Daniel Theis this season via trade. The familiarity has helped the lineup thrive, while the addition of Derrick White and emergence of Payton Pritchard and Grant Williams have also contributed to Ime Udoka's side finding sustained success.

Unfortunately, Boston will be missing one of its most important players to start the postseason after Robert Williams suffered a torn meniscus. He underwent surgery on March 30 and reportedly is expected to miss four to six weeks. Prior to his injury, Williams was in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year and ranked second in the NBA with 2.2 blocks per game.

Through the first half of the 2021-22 season, the Celtics didn't look like a playoff team. They dealt with injuries, COVID-19-related absences and a lack of connection. However, that changed during the second half of the season and has been a big reason why the team finds itself back in the postseason.

The Celtics are 47-30 and in third place in the Eastern Conference. They will face an uphill battle in the playoffs against teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks, but they won't go down easily.