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.

Game Notes: 

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.

Josue Pavon

Photo used is courtesy of Getty Images

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