The Celtics haven't been in this position in almost five years (tied for 3rd in East)

Fifty games into the 2015-16 NBA season, the Celtics are 28-22.  It's the furthest over .500 (six games) they've been since March of 2013, when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers were all still in town.

Even though the current squad has just a two-game lead on the eighth-seeded Pacers, the C's are also tied for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference:

It's been nearly five years since Boston was in this position:

The 2010-11 club finished 56-26, third in the East behind Chicago and Miami.  The C's fell in the second round of the playoffs to LeBron James' Heat squad in five games (after Dwyane Wade bent Rajon Rondo's arm the wrong way).  That edition of the Celtics was 38-12 through 50 contests.

Here's a look back at each Boston team since then at this point in the season:

2011-12: Also 28-22, tied for sixth.  Finished lockout-shortened campaign 39-27 (fifth), lost to Miami in seven games in the Conference Finals (Ugh, that one hurt, the run to get there was magical).

2012-13: 27-23, seventh.  Ended up seventh (41-40, yes, they only played 81 games) and fell to New York 4-2 in Round 1 of the playoffs.

2013-14: 17-33, 11th.  Missed the postseason by a wide margin at 25-57, 12th in the East.

2014-15: 19-31, 11th.  Went 21-11 (actually 24-12 going back to their 16-30 mark) down the stretch to end the regular season at 40-42 and earn the No. 7 seed in the playoffs before being swept by LeBron's Cavaliers.

The contrast between the past two years is amazing.  Both were on a similar track until February, but ended in dramatically different places.  Over their last 86 games, the Celtics are 52-34 (.605):

With a favorable schedule on tap for the rest of the month, there should be more good times ahead...

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, screenshot via

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