jeff green

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 [on 13-of-19 shooting], 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.” …

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 1/2 games ahead of the 76ers with eight games to play. It’s the sixth consecutive season Boston has reached the playoffs since the New Big Three was assembled in the summer of 2007…

Green scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and added six rebounds and four blocked shots in the game. He has become one of the players the Celtics look to for big plays as the clock runs down, sharing the role that Pierce had occupied for more than a decade…

Greg Monroe had 24 points and 17 rebounds and Rodney Stuckey scored 22 for the Pistons.

– Reported by Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press