Boston sits seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 35-35 record. Because the Celtics’ best-case record scenario is 37-35, they can no longer catch the 38-31 Knicks, who are in sixth.
The top teams in the East and West are guaranteed playoff berths, while the Nos. 7-10 teams will enter a play-in tournament to determine the final two playoff spots in each conference.
Simply reaching the playoffs is an accomplishment for a team that entered the year with low expectations. Of note, New York faced 20-1 odds to make the playoffs when the season began, per The Action Network.
New York went 21-45 last season and was one of eight squads not invited to the NBA restart in Orlando, Florida. It was the seventh straight losing season for the franchise, featuring four years with fewer than 30 wins.
There were limited changes to the roster in the offseason, but bringing in a new team president in Leon Rose and head coach in Tom Thibodeau appears to have turned things around for the troubled organization.
Julius Randle took a major leap this season, earning his first All-Star selection while becoming a top contender for the Most Improved Player award. He entered the day averaging 24.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists as a versatile contributor and focal point of the offense.
RJ Barrett also took a big step in his second year in the NBA, improving his efficiency while showing the promise many expected as the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft.