Keep the champagne on ice
"It’s funny, I didn’t know it," Rivers said. "But my coaches did. When I was walking [into the locker room], I think [two assistant coaches] both grabbed me and said, ‘Hey, we made the playoffs!'"
Not that the accomplishment was ever really in jeopardy. Clinching seemed inevitable despite Boston's up-and-down play this season.
"There was never any doubt in my mind, or anybody in the locker room, or in the coaching staff, that we wouldn’t be in the playoffs," Jason Terry said. "It’s good to be solidified, but we’ve still got some work to do. Good practice time coming up here for the next week and a half, and then it’s on. The show begins."
The Celtics still are jockeying for position on the Eastern Conference playoff ladder. With Milwaukee falling to visiting Minnesota on Wednesday, Boston is 2½ games up on the eighth-seeded Bucks. Both Chicago (2-game lead on Boston) and Atlanta (2½-game lead) potentially are catchable, but those teams have favorable end-of-the-season schedules that should help them fend off the Celtics.
Even Terry admitted it's looking like a first-round matchup with the Knicks or Pacers, whoever emerges in the No. 2 spot (those teams are currently separated by a half game).
"Where do you want to look at: New York or Indiana? There’s only two. That’s where it’s at," Terry said. Asked if that meant he was confident the Celtics wouldn't slide to the eighth spot (and a first-round matchup with the top-seeded Heat), Terry added, "I don’t see it. If somebody else does, that’s on them."
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi weighs in on the responsibility Tom Brady shoulders for the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski's physicality and how New England will use Darrelle Revis.
Play Podcast Buster Olney talks to Alex Speier, Karl Ravech and Justin Havens about whether the Red Sox will move Jon Lester before the trade deadline, pace of play and much more.
Play Podcast NFL Films' Greg Cosell covers the Cowboys' defense, Rob Gronkowski's impact, Darrelle Revis' performance last season, the Giants' talent level and the outlook for the Cardinals.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Keith Law talk about the Tigers' acquisition of Joakim Soria and whether it's wise to trade within the division. Plus, Matt Gelb on the Phillies' plans.