Miércoles, 23 May, 2018

Celtics advance to Eastern Conference finals to face Cleveland

Isaiah Thomas and Boston Celtics have home court for Game 7 Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics have home court for Game 7 but will it be enough
Montrelle Montesinos | 20 May, 2017, 05:56

Instead of forcing plays, Thomas looked for the open man, most notably Kelly Olynyk, who scored a playoff career-high 26 points off the bench.

Easily Monday's Game 7 performance by Olynyk was his best ever as a Celtic, not only because of the 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting but also because of his performance's impact - it moved Boston on to the Conference finals.

Boston, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, will now have home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference finals against LeBron James and the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers.

"But what a special opportunity to get a chance to compete against them".

Thomas scored 29 points and dished out a playoff career-high 12 assists, while Al Horford had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists, Jae Crowder 14 points and five boards and Marcus Smart 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in the win.

Olynyk said after the game that Brad Stevens told him, "You have to be at your best when your best is needed", and Olynyk was certainly at his best Monday night.

The home team has won every game this series and in Game 4 the Wizards inexplicably laid down and did not seem to give their full effort in an important playoff matchup. So we're not really anxious about him or what they're doing. That drought is the longest of any city, with three or more professional sports teams and if the Wizards can break the "curse", they will be the first for an entire Washington generation. Yes, the Celtics were a game away from burying the Wizards after pulling off an effortless 123-101 win in Game 5, but they were just inviting bad karma by dressing for the Wizards' "funeral" at Verizon Center, particularly since they had yet to win a road game in the series.

Bradley Beal led Washington - which was playing in its first Game 7 since 1979 - with 38 points, including 24 in the second half. Otto Porter Jr. had a postseason career-high 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting and a flawless 8/8 from the charity stripe.

Brown's reverse dunk in the opening seconds of the fourth got the crowd going again, giving the Celtics a 87-79 lead.

Washington did respond to Boston's run with a 7-0 run to climb back into it, but they were never able to get over the hump.

"I don't care how well I played", Beal said afterward. Then Olynyk took over.

Despite Boston's success, Cleveland had their way with the Celtics in the regular season.

By the time the fourth quarter arrived, it was time for Olynyk to showcase his perimeter skills.

They are set to begin on Wednesday, May 17 at TD Garden.

Wall and Beal each were beneficiaries scoring eight and nine points, respectively in the second quarter to help the Wizards take a two-point lead into halftime. Wall made a clutch three-pointer to give the Wizards a 1-point lead before the final possession. Game 6 was incredible, or at least the conclusion was, as the Celtics and the Wizards battled back and forth with clutch bucket after clutch bucket. In Game 6 Thomas scored more than 20 points for the first time since his 53-point game in Game 2. Worrying about overpaying Bradley Beal is not one of them.