Celtics Heading to the Eastern Conference Finals - NECN

Celtics Heading to the Eastern Conference Finals

Kelly Olynyk played the game of his NBA life, scoring 26 points

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Celtics Kelly Olynyk talks about his scoring barage and the energy of the Boston crowd.

    (Published Tuesday, May 16, 2017)

    The Celtics are advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2012 after beating the Wizards in game 7 of their series, 115-105. 

    Kelly Olynyk played the game of his NBA life, scoring 26 points. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 29 points and 12 assists. 

    "The 12 to 2, assist to turnover, you know, is just as powerful as the 29 points," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "I thought he (Thomas) made a lot of great plays." 

    Thomas' performance was to be expected, but Olynyk was an unlikely hero, especially since the entire Celtics bench had just 5 points in all of game 6. 

    "It was unbelievable," Olynyk said. "Especially to do it in front of our fans, for the city of Boston. It was unbelievable to feel that energy, feel that enthusiasm, that passion that 20,000 people had."

    "Kelly gave gave us that enormous lift of scoring in the fourth quarter, but really in the first half, as well," Stevens said. " I thought Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were really good. Marcus I thought, played as hard as he possibly could."

    The Celtics' Marcus Smart had 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, while rookie Jaylen Brown chipped in 9 points. 

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    The Wizards Bradley Beal led all scorers with 38 points.

    Both teams came out a bit tight and tentative in the first few minutes.

    Avery Bradley spotted up for a 3-pointer in transition to put the Celtics on top 8-2 with 8:51 and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks called timeout to try and settle his team.

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    The Wizards answered with a 10-0 run, punctuated by a John Wall fast-break dunk.

    Overall, the first quarter was marred by turnovers and missed open shots by both teams, but Brown gave the Celtics a bit of a cushion with a 3-pointer and a couple of free throws to make it 24-17.

    The first quarter ended with the Celtics up 27-23.

    Thomas found Olynyk wide open under the basket for an easy score to make it 31-25 and Brooks called another timeout. Olynyk had 7 points and finished the half with 12 points.

    The Wizards hung tough, paced by Otto Porter Jr., and closed the gap to 46-45. Porter's short floater from the lane gave him 12 points in the half, a big improvement from his scoreless performance in game 6.

    Washington took their first lead of the game on John Wall's 20-foot jumper to make it 50-49.

    Wall had 13 points and Bradley Beal notched 14 points to put the Wizards on top at the half, 55-53.

    The Wizards came out attacking in the third quarter, and their confidence and lead grew when Beal nailed a short jumper to make it 64-59.

    Bolstered by their rejuvenated bench, the Celtics met their match. Brown scored on an acrobatic catch and bank shot from an odd angle to tie the game at 72.

    The Celtics closed the quarter with a 9-0 run on a trio of 3-pointers, two by Thomas and one from Marcus Smart.

    The Celtics held a 85-79 lead after three quarters.

    Thomas' 3-pointer brought the crowd to their feet and the Wizards to the sideline as Brooks called a timeout with the score 94-81 at the 10:00 mark.

    But the Wizards would not go quietly. Beal's 3-pointer closed the Celtics' lead to 101-96.

    Down the stretch, the Celtics pulled away behind Olynyk, who hit a 3-pointer making it 110-100. Olynyk was serenaded by the Garden crowd chanting, "Kelly, Kelly, Kelly." 

    The Celtics will open the the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. when they host the Cavaliers.

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