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Gorman: Convinced Celtics Will Make Playoffs, But Will Come Down To Final Week

BOSTON (CBS) --  Last year at this time, Celtics fans were worrying more about ping-pong balls than the playoffs.

But that script has been flipped, and all people are talking about in regards to the Celtics is their bouncing around the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Instead of focusing on future prospects currently playing in the NCAA Tournament, C's fans can enjoy some scoreboard watching around the NBA.

And if they were paying attention to the scoreboard on Tuesday night the Celtics got a big assist from the Milwaukee Bucks, who knocked off the Miami Heat on a dramatic buzzer beater. The Heat loss puts the Celtics just a game back of Miami for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, with Miami now heading to Boston for their final meeting of the season on Wednesday night.

CSNNE's Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich on Wednesday morning, and is very confident the Celtics will be playing postseason basketball this year. He's just not sure when that fact will become official, given such a tight race for the final two playoff spots in the East.

"It will come down to the last week for sure. The way Milwaukee is playing they're in reverse (dropping seven of their last 10), though they pulled it out last night and helped the Celtics," said Gorman. "That last game in Milwaukee [on April 15] could be very meaningful for both teams.

"There is a really good competitive attitude on this team," Gorman later added about the Celtics. "I'm convinced they're going to the playoffs."

Five of Boston's 12 remaining games are against teams they're in direct competition with for a postseason spot: Miami, Milwaukee (two games) and Charlotte.

As for Wednesday night against the Heat, the Celtics are hoping that Isaiah Thomas will return to the lineup after missing the last two weeks with a badly bruised tailbone and right elbow.

"I think it's interesting that he's coming back against the team he went down against, and I still question [Dwyane] Wade's performance on that particular play. I hope Isaiah comes back – they said they weren't bringing him back until he was ready to be Isaiah. Hopefully he comes back and is [Isaiah]. Anyone that has missed five games it takes time to get into the groove, but the sooner we get Isaiah back the better this basketball team is, that's for sure."

After losing in overtime Sunday night to the Detroit Pistons, the Celtics bounced back on Monday with a fairly easy win over the Nets in Brooklyn. The Celtics have been very good at putting losses behind them this season, and while there are other factors leading to that, Gorman points to head coach Brad Stevens as one of the main reasons.

"I think it's because they're younger, and Brad has convinced them they can't just give in. Ever since [Jeff] Green and [Rajon] Rondo have been gone, the attention span of all the other players have gone way up and they've been listening to the coaches instead of Rondo or Jeff. And they're benefiting from it. Certainly guys like Evan Turner and Jae Crowder have to go home every night and say, 'Jeez, I'm putting up my best numbers I've ever put up in the league here.'

"Ever since they started listening to the coach, they've understood. This is unusual in the NBA: If you ask anyone on the team why they're playing well, they all say it comes down to the coach. I've never heard that before."

As for Rondo, Gorman has a very interesting prediction as to where the point guard will land next season.

"My guess is he ends up in L.A. with Kevin Love and Kobe next year."

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