Celtics claim top seed in NBA Eastern Conference

Gerald Green scored 18 points as the Boston Celtics clinched their first Eastern Conference title in nine years with a 112-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 12, 2017

Gerald Green scored 18 points as the Boston Celtics clinched their first Eastern Conference title in nine years with a 112-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on the final night of the NBA regular season.

The Celtics finished with a 53-29 record as they claimed the top seed in the East for the first since the 2007-08 season, when they won the last of their NBA best 17 championships.

Green scored 10 of his 18 points during a 25-2 fourth quarter surge by the Celtics on Wednesday, as there was plenty to be decided on the last night of the regular season.

The win, and a loss by the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier in the evening, gives Boston home court advantage through the first three rounds of the postseason. The Cavaliers could have taken the No. 1 seed in the East with a combination of a Cleveland win and a loss by the Celtics.

However, Cleveland waved the white flag Wednesday as they sat out their stars, including LeBron James, in their final game against the Toronto Raptors. Norman Powell tallied 25 points to power the Raptors to a 98-83 win over the Cavs. Cleveland is 0-8 without James in the lineup.

"I think there's a pride in being consistent," coach Brad Stevens said. "It's a real positive. We'll talk about what was accomplished later. We'll focus on whenever we play this weekend to get ready."

The Celtics will face the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs while the Cavaliers battle the Indiana Pacers, who routed the Atlanta Hawks 104-86.

The Bulls manhandled the Brooklyn Nets 112-73 to help punch their ticket to the postseason.

Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson each had 16 points, Isaiah Thomas finished with 13 points and eight assists, and Al Horford added 12 points for Boston.

"It's very special to me. I've never been a number one seed," said Thomas, who was picked last in the 2011 NBA entry draft but finished third in the NBA in scoring with 28.9 points per game behind Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

Spencer Hawes and Michael Beasley each had 15 points for Milwaukee, who had already claimed the sixth seed in the East following a Hawks victory Tuesday.

Rashad Vaughn had 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 11 for the Bucks, who will face the third-seeded Raptors in the first round.

Thomas, who extended his franchise record by making a three pointer in his 57th straight game, promised the Boston crowd a postseason they would remember.

"We got a big playoff run coming for you guys," he said.