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Celtics At 7: C's Should Embrace A Run At Playoffs

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Boston Celtics hit the NBA's All-Star break on a high note, beating the Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks in dramatic fashion Wednesday night.

Evan Turner's floater with just 0.2 seconds left gave Boston their 20th win of the season (they won just 25 games last season), and the Celtics now sit just a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Though they're in the midst of a rebuild, should the Celtics make a run for that final playoff spot (or higher)? 98.5 The Sports Hub's Adam Jones says doing so would be very beneficial for the team in the future.

"I do think the Celtics should embrace making a run at that eighth playoff spot," Jones during Thursday night's Celtics @ 7 segment. "I don't think it's the worst thing in the world for Marcus Smart in year one, Jared Sullinger in year three, Kelly Olynyk in year two, to be around a 'winning culture.'"

Though Jones thinks the "winning culture" aspect is overrated for the players, getting into the playoffs would be a much bigger deal for head coach Brad Stevens.

"I think [it's even more important for] Brad Stevens in year two, building towards something. Maybe someone from outside the organization – a nice player who you're trying to target in free agency – looks and says, 'I like what they're doing there.' And Brad Stevens isn't the sad puppy. He's never lost this much and isn't accustomed to losing, so get him to the playoffs. That's bigger for him than it is for the players."

For another reason why the Celtics should make a playoff push, Jones looks to the Atlanta Hawks, who are enjoying success despite never really uttering the word "tank" over the last decade.

"The Atlanta Hawks have one lottery pick on the entire team – Al Horford. So I wouldn't rule out that somewhere down the line, Marcus Smart could be their Al Horford-type," said Jones. "One lottery pick, a couple of mid-to-late first rounders and a bunch of guys on the scrap heap. You have to hit on some of these guys, but the Hawks are a way you can do it. They've made the playoffs eight straight years so they're barely in the lottery, and now they're the best team in the East.

"That's a model I would look and say, 'we can make the playoffs even if we're a late seed, and we can still rebuild and still improve, and maybe someday turn in to what Atlanta is now.'"

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