AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) -- Ray Allen left as a free agent. Rajon Rondo is out for the season. Kevin Garnett is recuperating from an ankle injury.
With the core of the Celtics team that won the franchise's 17th NBA title in 2008 otherwise occupied, Jeff Green led Boston back into the playoffs.
The Celtics swingman scored 34 points, including a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to snap a two-minute scoring drought, to help Boston beat the Detroit Pistons 98-93 on Wednesday night and clinch the team's sixth consecutive playoff berth.
"We knew we were a playoff team before the season started, despite the injuries and everything," said Paul Pierce, the only holdover from the team that won it all in 2008 and returned to the NBA finals two years later.
"The playoffs is a totally different game; it's nothing like the regular season. At least these guys will go out there and get their feet wet, see some shots go in, rebound the ball and get some experience."
Pierce and Brandon Bass scored 17 apiece, and Bass added seven rebounds for the Celtics, who had lost two in a row and seven of their previous nine.
The victory, coupled with Philadelphia's 88-83 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, left Boston 8
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