The Celtics (8-5) earned their way to the Eastern Conference Finals by posting a 115-105 victory over the Washington Wizards in Game 7 of the semifinals at TD Garden in Boston Monday night.
The Celtics need Thomas to be at his best against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals, and that includes scoring around 30 points per game and being a facilitator when the Cavs throw two or three defenders at him. The Celtics reserves scored 48 points compared to just five by the Wizards.
Olynyk said after the game that Brad Stevens told him, "You have to be at your best when your best is needed", and Olynyk was certainly at his best Monday night. "I work too hard to be scared of any type of pressure", he said.
Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics' meeting with LeBron James and the Cavs is a rematch of the organizations' clash in 2012, which lasted seven games.
Thomas has gotten mental advice this postseason from both Kobe Bryant and most recently Paul Pierce after the Wizards evened the series in Game 4.
"Everybody gave it their best and it turned out for us tonight", added the 26-year-old Canadian power forward.
There were big shots and lots of huge defensive plays made by Smart all game long. The Wizards made one last push behind Bradley Beal, who scored a playoff career-high 38 points, but Olynyk shut the door. Starting center Marcin Gortat did not score a point until 4:41 remained in the third quarter. The Celtics bench had just 5 points in Game 6. The run grew to 22-5 in the opening minutes of the fourth as the Celtics' lead became 94-81.
Washington did respond to Boston's run with a 7-0 run to climb back into it, but they were never able to get over the hump. "We don't care about what others say". Then Olynyk took over. He scored 11 of 13 points for the Celtics as they stretched their advantage to 110-100.More news: Manchester United train as Jose Mourinho considers options for Celta Vigo clash
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The Celtics had the largest lead of the first half at 10-2, but that gap was quickly erased by Washington as Boston started to accumulate fouls.
The Cleveland Cavaliers finally know their opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The current Celtics will win because of the parquet floor beneath their sneakers and the 18,624 partisan fans filling the seats around them.
Game 2: Friday, May 19 at Boston, 8:30 p.m. While PG John Wall nearly always helps Washington hang around in games, they are just 2-9 SU and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games as a road underdog.
Live streaming for Celtics-Wizards Game 7 is available via Watch TNT.
Only Eddie Johnson (34 points for the Seattle SuperSonics against the Suns in 1993) and Sedale Threatt (28 points for the 76ers against the Bucks in 1986) scored more off the bench in a Game 7 in this era.
Who: Washington Wizards vs. Home teams are 101-26 all time. The Wizards are 6-2 in the playoffs when they combine for 50 or more points.
TD Garden seemed to shake from 18,624 people releasing nervous energy that had been pent up earlier in the game. They combined for 59 points in Game 6. If they do hold on for the Game 7 win, it will be the furthest that any Washington team, Bullets or Wizards will have gone in the NBA Playoffs, aside from their sole Finals appearance against the Warriors in 1978-79. But if Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Jae Crowder and the rest of the Green can come up with a performance similar to that in their three victories, they will win.