January 21, 2018

Boston Celtics shake off Washington Wizards to make National Basketball Association conference finals

18 May 2017, 02:09 | Marlene Fleming

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Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas knows his top-seeded team will be considered the underdog against the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals, but he believes Boston will continue to use that as motivation.

Meanwhile, if the Celtics take the series, it will be Boston's first time reaching the NBA Finals since 2010.

Kelly Olynyk scored 26 points off the bench, Isaiah Thomas added 29 and the Boston Celtics beat the Washington Wizards 115-105 in game 7 at TD Garden in Boston to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Olynyk's heroics helped the Boston bench outscore the Washington reserves 48-5. After a sloppy first half, Thomas delivered a huge second half: 17 points, six assists, zero turnovers, 6-for-12 shooting, 3-for-3 from deep.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards, which was playing it its first Game 7 since 1979 with 38 points, including 24 in the second half.

Washington cut into Boston's lead before Olynyk scored 11 of his team's 13 points for a 110-100 lead.

Whatever motivation Garnett shared - screams from fans drowned out his message - it seemed to work as Boston shot 53.3 percent through much of the rest of the quarter, made a trio of three-pointers and scored easy looks in the paint.

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All 11 games between these teams in the regular season and postseason - all physical affairs - were won by the home team. It was a career high in points for Olynyk, who wasn't even a starter in the lineup for Game 7. And teams such as the Celtics won't just lay down and let the Wizards have what they want when they want it like the Suns, Kings and Blazers. Olynyk scored 14 of his 26 points in the final fame, including a decisive stretch that started with seven minutes remaining and buried the Wizards.

Unlike numerous previous games in this series, it was the Celtics who jumped out to the early advantage, leading 10-2 after the first few minutes. The Celtics are assured of no worse than the fourth pick in Tuesday night's draft lottery as they still reap the benefits of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade to Brooklyn.

Olynyk was the victim of a Kelly Oubre Jr. shove in Game 3 that got the Wizards forward suspended for Game 4. We outlasted them there.

"I thought about it a lot", he said.

Rookie Jaylen Brown had a stellar Game 7 as well, and if he can continue to bring his athleticism and energy to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics won't necessarily need him to score - he can impact the game in a variety of different ways.

Game 2: Friday, May 19 at Boston, 8:30 p.m. It also marked the latest big game by the 28-year-old All-Star, in a playoff run that began in the haze of his younger sister's death in a auto accident. "They would come to the sideline in the fourth quarter and nobody was talking because there was nothing left".

Olynyk's highlight basket of the night came during the first quarter, when he faked a dribble-hand-off to Thomas on the right wing and turned the corner for a drive to the rack that eventually turned into a three-point play.

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