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 17th championship.
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.
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.
"These are the playoffs that I've looked forward to the most probably since I have been in the league," Horford said before the contest. "I feel very strong about this group. I think we have a special group."
Spencer Hawes and Michael Beasley each had 15 points for Milwaukee who had already claimed the sixth seed in the East following an Atlanta Hawks victory Tuesday.
Rashad Vaughn had 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 11 for the Bucks, who will face the third-seeded Toronto 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.