Celtics move atop East, clinch division title with win over Nets

But, Monday was a special night for the Nets and center Brook Lopez.

The Celtics are now tied with the Cavaliers for first place in the Eastern Conference so a win here could go a long way to securing that top seed in the Eastern Conference, so you know the Celtics will be up for this one.

The Celtics (52-29) built a 27-point lead in the third quarter, but a 37-point quarter and then another charge in the fourth got the Nets, who scored 40 in the first half, to within six in the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Bucks (42-39) cruised to a 10-point win against the Hornets and have an opportunity to move one spot up to the fifth seed if they're able to knock off the Celtics. If Boston wins their final regular season game on Wednesday against the Milwaukee, they will clinch the best record in the East. "We've been trying to finish the season, the No. 1 seed, that means a lot to me, personally".

The highlight of the night for Detroit fans was a halftime ceremony that honored the top players from the three championship teams, including Isiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups. "We've been through ups and downs; been through a lot of injuries this year, haven't been that healthy for the most part. That says a lot about who we are". Clapping was heard again from the same room when the Heat finished their victory, cementing the Celtics' chance to claim top seed Wednesday.

"It shows that we're starting to play the right way", Bradley said.

Jeremy Lin led the Nets with 26 points and 12 rebounds. As a team, the Celtics shot 51 percent from the field and 17 of 39 from the three-point line as they dominated the first half by 71-54 to set up the win and improve to 51-29 overall which is now good for second place in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn also had a day off after Saturday's one-point victory over Chicago, but couldn't find the basket early on.

PACERS 120, 76ERS 111: Paul George scored 17 of his 27 points in the opening quarter at Philadelphia and the Indiana Pacers inched closer to clinching a berth in the playoffs.

NETS: Sean Kilpatrick (left hamstring) and Quincy Acy (sore left ankle) sat out and will also miss Wednesday's regular-season finale. Runs of 12-0 and 9-0 got them there. Isaiah Thomas had a game-high 27 points with four rebounds, three assists and a steal. The Nets continue to win games and have gone 4-1 so far in April.

"We haven't been very good in those stretches".

Lopez started slowly, but passed Williams with a turnaround jumper on the baseline with just over 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Williams holds a number of Nets records, some of which Lopez should take down in the coming seasons if he remains with the Nets. "I'm just proud to have my name up there with those guys", Lopez told ESPN after the game.

The Brooklyn Nets lost on Monday night to the Boston Celtics.

With the National Basketball Association regular season winding down, it's all about deciphering a team's motivation to continue playing hard, and Boston has plenty of reason to give a 100 percent effort in this game.

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