Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka saw a 109-81 victory over the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday as validation.

"Our proof is in our record in the second half of the season," Udoka said of his team after it punched its ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals. "We are not a fluke."

Because of how they're performing in the playoffs, it's easy to forget how the Celtics' season was being framed a few months ago.

Boston was sitting at .500 (25-25) as late as Jan. 28. In November, Marcus Smart said the team's best players, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, "don't want to pass the ball," which was making the offense too predictable. Once again, the idea of trading Tatum or Brown in order to shake things up was at least being thrown around by those outside of the team.