Boston Celtics Clinch No. 1 Seed in Eastern Conference

The Celtics won't have much to play for down the stretch of the NBA regular season.
Boston Celtics
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There are three weeks remaining in the NBA regular season and the Boston Celtics have already clinched homecourt advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. After working through a series of tiebreakers complications, the team's social media accounts officially announced the news on Monday. It has been a long time coming.

The Celtics, boasting a 57-14 record entering Monday's action, officially cemented themselves as the No. 1 overall seed in the East following multiple results over the weekend. After they beat the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, the results of Sunday's games put them over the top. If it feels like it's a bit early for this sort of thing, well... it is.

In most seasons the race for the top seed and homecourt advantage in the playoffs comes down to the final few games. At the very least, few teams are so dominant they clinch before the calendar turns to April. This year's edition of the Celtics are different. They've been among the league's best squads since tip-off back in October and have only gotten better as the season has gone along. It has been a total team effort.

Jayson Tatum is not near the top of any MVP projections but he is averaging 27.1 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting from the floor. Jaylen Brown is putting up 23.4 points per contest on 50.4 percent shooting and pairing his offensive output with excellent defense. Derrick White is having a breakout season with 15.4 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting from the floor to go with 1.3 blocks per game. That's an astounding number for a 6-foot-4 guard.

Newcomers Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday have meshed seamlessly with Boston's core. Holiday has replaced Marcus Smart's elite perimeter defense without missing a beat. He is also enjoying a career year from three-point range, shooting 44.5 percent from beyond the arc. Porzingis has missed a good chunk of games, as expected, but provides 20.3 points per game when he is on the floor to go with excellent rim protection. He's averaging 1.8 blocks per contest. The Celtics' bench, the biggest question mark for the team entering the 2023-24 season, has blown away all doubters and helped the team post a positive net rating without Tatum on the floor. That's something they haven't achieved at any point during the young superstar's career.

In short, the Celtics team has no real weaknesses. It's why they're on pace to win more than 60 games this season and why they have clinched the No. 1 seed in the East with 11 games left to play. At their current pace Boston will clinch the best record in the NBA within a few days and own homecourt advantage through the NBA Finals.

There will be many exciting storylines to enjoy in the final weeks of the regular season. The race for the top seed in the East will not be one of them.

Liam McKeone is a staff writer at The Big Lead.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.