NBA: Celtics claim Eastern Conference top seed, to face Bulls in first round of playoffs

Boston Celtics forward Gerald Green makes a slam dunk during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, on April 12, 2017.
Boston Celtics forward Gerald Green makes a slam dunk during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, on April 12, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

Boston (AFP) - Gerald Green scored 18 points as the Boston Celtics clinched their first Eastern Conference title in nine years with a 112-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on the final night of the National Basketball Association (NBA) regular season.

The Celtics finished with a 53-29 record as they claimed the top seed in the East for the first since the 2007-08 season, when they won the last of their NBA best 17 championships.

Green scored 10 of his 18 points during a 25-2 fourth quarter surge by the Celtics on Wednesday, as there was plenty to be decided on the last night of the regular season.

The win, and a loss by the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier in the evening, gives Boston home court advantage through the first three rounds of the postseason.

The Cavaliers could have taken the No. 1 seed in the East with a combination of a Cleveland win and a loss by the Celtics. However, Cleveland waved the white flag on Wednesday as they sat out their stars, including LeBron James, in their final game against the Toronto Raptors.

Norman Powell tallied 25 points to power the Raptors to a 98-83 win over the Cavs. Cleveland is 0-8 without James in the lineup.

The Celtics will face the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs while the Cavaliers battle the Indiana Pacers, who routed the Atlanta Hawks 104-86.

The Bulls manhandled the Brooklyn Nets 112-73 to help punch their ticket to the postseason.