Celtics advance to Eastern Conference finals
The Boston Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals with a 115-105 Game 7 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday.
Kelly Olynyk, who entered the game averaging 8.3 points per game in the playoffs, exploded for 14 of his career playoff-high 26 points in the first 8:34 of the fourth quarter, joining Isaiah Thomas in the offensive charge that gave Boston the 4-3 series win.
The top-seeded Celtics host the defending champion Cavaliers in Game 1 on Wednesday and Game 2 on Friday. Second-seeded Cleveland, 8-0 in the playoffs, took the season series 2-1.
Boston, keeping the home-court dominance of the season series intact, trailed by five with 5:39 left in the third quarter but outscored the Wizards 21-9 over the remainder of the period. Down by three, Thomas hit two 3-pointers and Marcus Smart one in a 1:13 span to put the home team ahead to stay.
The Celtics opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 spurt, but Bradley Beal kept his team alive, until Olynyk buried them, hitting his first five shots of the final quarter.
He shot 10 of 14 from the floor and also had five rebounds and four assists, leaving the game to a huge ovation with 1:37 left (he returned briefly in the final seconds).
Olynyk's heroics helped the Boston bench outscore the Washington reserves 48-5.