NBA Playoff Updates: Box, Celtics Clinch Spot; Knicks officially eliminated

We’re in the last week of the 2021-22 NBA regular season, and the teams are punching their tickets post-season – and in the lottery. With just a handful of games left for each franchise, here’s a quick overview of everything that happened from a playoff perspective so you could engage everyone.

Bucks a play-off birth clinch

The Milwaukee Bucks won another thriller on Thursday, this time beating the Brooklyn Nets 120-119 in overtime. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way again, finishing with 44 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. He also hit a game-tying 3-pointer late in regulation and threw two game-winning free throws in the final seconds of overtime.

With that win and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ defeat to the Atlanta Hawks, the Box officially earned at least one top-six seed in the playoff berths and the Eastern Conference. This will be the sixth consecutive appearance next season for the defending champions, the second longest streak in the history of the franchise.

Celtics is a play-off birth clinch

After an impressive few months, at which point they have increased their standing and briefly taken first place, the Boston Celtics have faced some adversity in recent days. The original big man Robert Williams III suffered a torn meniscus and will be out for at least 4-6 weeks after surgery, and they have lost a drawn game for the first time since mid-January.

On Thursday, though, they got some good news. When they were inactive, they officially won a play-off berth that the Cavaliers lost to the Hawks. This will be the seventh play-off appearance for the Celtics, their longest streak since they went 14 times in the post-season from 1980-1993.

The New York Knicks took the NBA by storm last season, previously in fourth place for their first playoff appearance since 2013. And although they were devastated in the first round against the Atlanta Hawks, the future looked pretty exciting. Julius Randall won the most advanced players, among them RJ Barrett and Emanuel Quickle had some brilliant young talent and head coach Tom Thibodeau created an elite defense.

It’s all been upset this season. The team’s off-season moves didn’t pan out, and both Randall and the defense took big steps. The 3-17 draw brutally in January and February is on the wall and now it’s official: With the Hawks’ win over the Cavaliers, the Knicks have been knocked out of the playoffs. Failed to even play-in tournaments from the East fourth. Quite a disappointing turn of events.

After making several big changes this offseason, including a deal with Russell Westbrook with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Wizards got off to a great start. They played great defense, beat some elite teams and had real positive energy about them. Through the first month of the regular season, they were 10-3 and previously in first place.

Unfortunately, that was the high point of their season. They have lost 12 of their next 17 games and have never been able to get back on track. There were rumors of conflict, Bradley Bill needed season-ending surgery and they finally blew things up in the deadline of the trade. Now, after the Hawks’ victory over the Cavs, they are officially out of the playoff race.

Clipper lock in play-in spot

Not planned for the Los Angeles Clippers this season. Already without Kaohi Leonard, who suffered in the ACL that tore the playoffs last season, then they lost to Paul George with an elbow injury for three months. Although they deserve a lot of credit for floating without their two stars, and recently got George back, they are still below .500 and going to the play-in tournament.

This was officially confirmed on Thursday when the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Utah Jazz. The Clippers will almost certainly end up in the No. 8 spot, which means they will be on the road for a 7 vs. No. 8 matchup. If they win that game, they will get seed number 7 in the playoffs. If they lose, they will host the winner of the 9th vs. 10th matchup. The winner of that game will get seed number 7 in the playoffs.

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