The Celtics are so close to making the playoffs, they can almost taste it.
The Cavaliers, playing without LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, four of their five starters, were no match for an inspired Celtics team. The C's roasted the Cavs from the beginning of the second quarter en route to a 117-78 blowout win yesterday at TD Garden.
Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 17 points in just 22 minutes, he was one of seven Celtics players who scored in double-digits. Evan Turner filled his stat line by posting 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
But Turner wasn't the only Celtic who stole the ball away from the Cavs once or twice in yesterday's matinee, nine players had at least one. The Celtics stole the ball from Cleveland 20 times, one shy of the franchise record. Marcus Smart tied Turner for a game-high four steals, and Jae Crowder had three.
The Celtics outscored the Cavs 34-9 in the second quarter and then extended it to a 24-point lead by halftime. The Celtics then led the Cavs by at least 20 points the rest of the way. Sure, the Cavs played without four of their five starters but this was still an embarrassing loss for Cleveland. Smart was the only starter who clocked in over 30 minutes for the Celtics, who almost beat the Cavs by 40 points.
"We're just trying to lock in and focus in on what we're trying to do and that's get to the playoffs," Isaiah Thomas said. "That's all we're doing, we're doing nothing different from what we were doing when I first got here."Inching closer to a playoff berth, the Celtics have now won seven of their last eight games. The Celtics almost clinched a playoff spot last night when the Oklahoma City Thunder played against the Indiana Pacers. Despite Russell Westbrook's career-high 54 points, the Pacers beat the Thunder, keeping their playoff hopes alive and dwindling the Thunder's chances of making the playoffs.
But the Celtics aren't doing a lot of scoreboard watching. The C's are focused on winning games and finishing strong so that they can control their own fate. And make the playoffs on their own terms.
"We're just trying to get the right flow and keep giving ourselves an opportunity to play longer," Evan Turner said after the game. "And if we do, we go into any situation prepared and confident."The Celtics will host the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night at TD Garden. One more win could be enough for the Celtics to clinch a playoff spot.
The C's played great defense against the Cavs yesterday but they also continued to shoot the ball well on the offensive end of the floor. The Celtics are shooting 47% from the field in their last five games. C's shot 54% in yesterday's game.