Monday, May 15, 2017
Celtics 115 - Wizards 105: Isaiah Thomas, Kelly Olynyk push C's to knock off the Wiz in Game 7 [BOS wins series, 4-3]
It's on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
For a series filled with unexpected turns, Game 7 did not disappoint.
Isaiah Thomas' phenomenal play in the second half didn't come as a surprise, and neither did Bradley Beal's but Kelly Olynyk emerging as the improbable hero was something that very few anticipated -- especially the Wizards. Olynyk's 26-point off-the-bench performance pushed the Celtics to a huge fourth-quarter lead on their way to a 115-105 series-clinching victory and have earned a date with LeBron James and the champion Cavaliers.
Olynyk's 14 points in the fourth quarter complimented Thomas' team-high 29 points and helped the Celtics grab a double-digit lead in the final minutes of the game. The Wizards came within six points with under a minute left before the Celtics eventually put them away for good.
Al Horford finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds, Jae Crowder added 14 points and 5 rebounds while Smart contributed off the bench with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a pair of blocks.
Beal's game-high 38 points on 12-of-22 attempts, including 5-of-10 from deep certainly kept things close for Washington. John Wall added 18 points but it took him 23 shots to get there, along with his 11 assists.
As expected, Game 7 started off chippy but the Celtics stood tall against their opponent behind a combined 10 points off the bench from Jaylen Brown and Olynyk and headed into the second quarter with a 27-23 lead. After Markieff Morris' 3-pointer snapped an 8-2 Celtics run, Olynk's layup over Morris gave the Celtics a 44-39 lead.
Just before the break, Smart put his first fingerprints on the game by making a transition block on Otto Porter at the rim. He was fouled after gaining possession and drained in a pair of free-throws to tie the game at 53 before Smart committed a shooting foul on Bradley Beal -- who broke the tie with six seconds left in the half, 55-53.
Washington kicked off the second half with plenty of aggression and behind an efficient offense grabbed a six-point lead before the Celtics came roaring back. The C's capped off the quarter with a 9-0 run, outscoring the Wizards, 32-24 in the third and took an 85-79 lead into the final frame.
Celtics stretched it out to a 18-2 run before the Wizards retaliated with a 7-0 run -- cutting their deficit down to six (94-88) with 8:49 left. But Olynyk and Thomas took turns dissecting Washington's defense and pulled away down the stretch.
The Celtics will host the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Celtics shot 53 percent from the floor and did an excellent job of controlling the ball by limiting themselves to only 8 turnovers. Boston also converted 27 assists into 42 made field goals.
Photo used is courtesy of Getty Images