Aron Baynes powered a shorthanded Celtics squad with a career-high 26 points and 14 rebounds to help Boston beat the visiting Brooklyn Nets 110-97 in the regular-season finale for both teams on Wednesday night.
Jonathan Gibson had a career-high 18 points, Guerschon Yabusele had a career-best 16 and Shane Larkin totaled 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Celtics, who played only nine players and rested regulars Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris.
Boston finished second in the Eastern Conference after Toronto locked up the conference’s top seed last week. The Celtics finished at 55-27, eclipsing their win total from last season’s team that finished first in the East by two games.
Nik Stauskus had 18 points and Allen Crabbe added 16 and seven rebounds and to lead Brooklyn, which had its season-high, three-game winning streak snapped. The Nets lost six of their last 11 and finished outside the playoffs for the third straight year.
After winning six straight in late March, the Celtics limped to the finish line with four losses in their last six games. Boston lost Kyrie Irving during that stretch after the All-Star guard underwent left knee surgery, sidelining him for the playoffs.
The Celtics will open the playoffs at home on either Saturday or Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics led 53-43 at halftime and were up by as many as 23 late in the third quarter.
Brooklyn had a six-point lead early in the first quarter, but Boston charged back to go up 27-22 after one quarter.
D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert finished with 11 points apiece and Jarrett Allen added 10 for the Nets, who were limited to 40.7 percent shooting (37 of 91).
The Celtics shot 45.1 percent (46 of 102) and outrebounded the Nets 62-44.
—Field Level Media