Celtics make unique NBA history with 51st win of season

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The unprecedented in-season turnaround of the Boston Celtics now has some historical context.

By finishing 51-31 after sitting under .500 (20-21) at the halfway point of the season, the Celtics have clinched the best record in league history for a team with a losing mark through 41 games.

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Boston was just the third team in NBA history to reach 50 wins after being underwater halfway through the season, along with the 2018-19 Utah Jazz and 2002-03 Los Angeles Lakers.

However, neither of those teams won championship after such an impressive turnaround -- or even made it to a conference final.

The Jazz of three seasons ago finished fifth in the Western Conference and were knocked out in the first round in five games by the fourth-seeded Houston Rockets, while the Lakers -- who'd won three straight NBA Finals at the time -- also finished fifth.

Los Angeles knocked off the fourth-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves in six games in the conference quarterfinals, but were eliminated by the eventual champs in the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in six games in the next round.

These Celtics have earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference, however, and will have homecourt advantage through at least the first two rounds of the postseason -- provided they get out of the first round, of course.

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