Celtics overcome Wizards, set up Cavs clash


Many analysts believe Washington matches up better against the Cleveland Cavaliers and would pose a bigger threat to LeBron James & Co.in the Eastern Conference Finals.

A man not named Isaiah Thomas wrote his name into Boston Celtics lore Monday night after the Celtics defeated the Washington Wizards in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"What a special opportunity to get a chance to compete against them", Boston coach Brad Stevens said ahead of the Cavs matchup.

He shot 10-for-14 from the field and made five of his six shots during the fourth quarter to propel Boston into the Eastern Conference Finals with a 115-105 win.

It was a total team effort sparked by a spirited performance from Boston's Big Bench Three of Kelly Olynyk (26 points, five rebounds), Marcus Smart (13 points, six rebounds, four assists) and Jaylen Brown (nine points).

"Everyone gave their best tonight and it turned out well", Olynyk said. Now they come in as the significant underdog against a Cleveland Cavaliers team that has apparently flipped the switch so hard that they ripped it off the wall. Despite the fact that they will have home court advantage, the Celtics have little shot at beating a fully rested Cavaliers team. After all, this was a series that followed its own internal logic, something we desperately needed while the rest of the National Basketball Association playoff picture was falling into place in the most predictable manner possible. 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.

The Wizards were able to keep pace with Boston in a choppy, uneven first half, taking a two point lead into halftime.

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Nick Ritchie got the game-winning goal late in the period and Antione Vermette scored an insurance goal in the third. John Gibson has given up 34 goals on 382 shots faced and Jonathan Bernier has allowed four goals on 45 shots.

Markieff Morris contributed 18 points and Otto Porter Jr. dropped 20 points also in the game.

Boston trailed 76-72 late in the third quarter before a 13-3 spurt.

"They have a lot of guys that play physical defense, and others guys who space the floor and knock down shots", Wall said.

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

Thomas led the Celtics with 29 points and 12 assists, while the Wizards didn't have much offensive coherency outside of Beal's shooting. John Wall and Jae Crowder got into it after a January game in Boston which very nearly led to a brawl. James routinely torched P.J. Tucker in the second round of the playoffs, and none of the Celtics' options are as suited to defend James as Tucker.

Wizards: Dropped to 6-5 all-time in Game 7s. Two years ago, they won 40 games. Celtics vs Wizards live streaming, 2017 NBA Playoffs live streaming and Game 7 live streaming info follows. "But at this point anything can happen", Thomas said. He dominated, launching daggers left and right during the Celtics' 18-2 run to open the fourth and grab their first double digit lead of the night. In an interview with a Canadian newspaper, Olynyk's parents said their son was part of a team that rarely lost, but one defeat came against a rival Toronto team. He has averaged 25.1 points and 6 assists a game during the playoffs.