Celtics clinch top record in NBA with blowout win over shorthanded Thunder


The Boston Celtics will finish the season with the best record in the NBA.

The team clinched the top overall seed of the NBA playoffs with a 135-100 blowout win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, improving its record to 60-16.

The next closest teams to the Celtics in the standings were the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets, who are tied for the top record in the Western Conference at 53-24.

Like in many of their wins this season, the Celtics didn’t spend much of the game with the result in doubt, though that was helped by the Thunder being without top 2 scorers Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams. The loss pushes OKC down to third in the West and a game back from the Timberwolves and Nuggets with six games to play.

Meanwhile, all three of the Celtics’ top 3 scorers topped 20 points. Kristaps Porzingis notched 27 plus 12 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum had 24 and Jaylen Brown had 23.

Brown hailed the 60-win achievement after the game:

“It’s an honor, it’s a blessing to be on a 60-win team. It’s a lot of hard work that went into that, especially after coming up short last season, responding, coming back and not skipping any steps. I think we’re on track, 60 wins, but when the playoffs start, it’s back to square one.”

The Celtics indeed came up short last season, falling to the Miami Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals after going 57-25 in the regular season.

Boston responded with a pair of significant trade. It sent away former Defensive Player of the Year and franchise mainstay Marcus Smart in exchange for Porzingis, who provided them a dynamic two-way big that slotted in perfectly alongside Tatum and Brown.

Then the Celtics traded away Robert Williams III and Malcolm Brogdon for Jrue Holiday, who helped guide the Milwaukee Bucks to a title two years ago.

That overhaul worked out quite well during the regular season, but the test that matters is obviously still in the future. There’s no telling what will happen in the NBA playoffs, but the Celtics can at least know they’re entering the postseason as strong as anybody.





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