Celts close in on playoffs, rout Cavaliers 117-78

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BOSTON (AP) — Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points and the Boston Celtics moved closer to a playoff berth with a 117-78 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron James and three other starters Sunday.

The runaway was made possible by coach David Blatt’s decision to rest James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith since the Cavaliers already had clinched the No. 2 postseason spot in the Eastern Conference. Blatt said all four would play Monday night against Detroit.

The Celtics outscored the Cavaliers 34-9 in the second quarter to take a 55-31 lead and stayed ahead by between 18 and 41 points the rest of the way as their magic number for reaching the postseason dropped to one.

They would clinch a berth if Indiana loses to Oklahoma City on Sunday night. If the Celtics remain in seventh place in the East, they would face the Cavaliers in the first round.


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