The Celtics clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday night with a 98-93 win over the struggling Detroit Pistons. Even though they are without all-star point guard Rajon Rondo and all-star forward Kevin Garnett, the Celtics have remained resilient and several players have stepped up to fill the void.
Jeff Green, who has been very strong on both ends of the floor in recent weeks, led all scorers with 34 points. Though Green has been coming off the bench all year, Celtics coach Doc Rivers may be inclined to start Green during the playoffs. Right now, the team stands in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, although they’re just two games out of the number five seed.
Paul Pierce, who missed the Celtics last game due to personal reasons, was also strong in his return. The Celtics’ leading scorer chipped in 17 points and a team-high five assists.
Though Garnett is expected back for the playoffs, the Celtics will only go as far as Green and Pierce take them. The team plays great defense at times while guard Avery Bradley has proven to be one of the best defenders in the NBA, but Boston will only make it deep into the postseason if their big guns can score. That means Green must remain hot. Pierce has been a consistent scorer all season, but Green has been a bit of an enigma. Recently though, he’s really put things together offensively and has become the team’s go-to guy in the paint.
Wednesday night was no exception. Hopefully, for the Celtics’ sake, Green can continue with this type of play for the remainder of the year.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)