You never know what to expect in the final game of the regular season, especially when you’re a team like the Boston Celtics whose postseason status will begin at home regardless of how they fared against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rather than be content, the Celtics approached Sunday's game against the Grizzlies with a must-win mentality.
Take that and combine it with the Grizzlies resting most of its core players after having already locked up the No. 2 seed in the West, and you had the makings of a blowout win for the Celtics.
And like the Grizzlies, the Celtics find themselves beginning the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed after beating Memphis 139-110.
Boston (51-31) finished the regular season in a three-way tie with Milwaukee and Philadelphia, but the Celtics got the highest seed after winning the tie-breakers with both teams.
And the Miami Heat secured the top seed overall, but Boston won the head-to-head against them as well.
So winning the season series against the top three teams in the East, are the Celtics the real team to beat in the East?
Boston will have to wait a few days to know who their first-round foe will be. They play the winner of the play-in game between seventh-seeded Brooklyn and eighth-seed Cleveland.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s regular season-ending blowout victory.
Jayson Tatum: The Celtics have to feel good about Jayson Tatum closing out the regular season with what was one of his most efficient shooting performances ever. He led all scorers with 31 points on 11-for-14 shooting while playing just 26 minutes.
John Konchar: There was little for the Grizzlies to like about this one, with the play of John Konchar being the exception. He would finish the game with a triple-double of 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Jaylen Brown: It was a relatively slow start for Jaylen Brown followed by some foul trouble. But a strong third quarter by Brown and the Celtics only fueled the blowout. Brown would finish with 18 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the field. He also had three rebounds and four assists.
Payton Pritchard: He is in the kind of flow that you love to see if you’re a Celtics fan. He is using the attention paid to Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, etc., to his benefit by making the open looks that their presence is creating for him. He had 12 points against the Grizzlies, most of which came on open or lightly contested shots.
Daniel Theis: There’s no way Daniel Theis can provide all that Robert Williams (out, torn meniscus) has provided. But it’s good for the Celtics to see he can deliver Williams-like play when pressed into duty. He didn’t play a ton of minutes, but Theis was on the floor long enough to tally a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with three assists.
Grant Williams: This was another game in which Grant Williams’ shooting was an issue. Once the playoffs arrive, they are going to need him to provide some consistent scoring, especially if teams are going to leave him open. Against the Grizzlies, he had a great plus/minus which is somewhat skewed considering the blowout nature of the game. It wasn’t the fact that he scored just nine points, but that his scoring came on 2-for-7 shooting from the field.