Olynyk powers Celtics to Game 7 win over Wizards

While the Wizards are heading home, the Celtics now get to host the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night.

He became a Game 7 legend, one who will be forever associated with this lovable version of Boston Celtics that - at the very least - reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017. 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).

The Boston Celtics finally got the job done as they won their series decider with the Washington Wizards to advance to the National Basketball Association play-off conference finals.

After two Thomas free throws tied the game, Bradley Beal connected on a three, followed by a Thomas triple. John Wall and Markieff Morris each finished with 18. His ability to stretch the floor from the center position (or play as a 4) should, like Horford, mitigate the Cavs' advantage when they play five-out with Tristan Thompson off the floor.

In recent interviews, soon-to-be Celtics max-contract player Isaiah Thomas (29 points, 12 assists), when asked about his place among the greats, has simply said: "I haven't done anything yet".

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said his team faced a daunting challenge, stating the Cavaliers have raised their game in the postseason.

"I hate losing, especially (because) we felt like we were the better team", Beal said.

Wizards guard John Wall, left, drives against Celtics guard Marcus Smart during the third quarter. Washington then extended the lead out to six halfway through the third quarter, but that's when things started to unravel. Kelly Olynyk had the standout performance of the night.

The reason the Celtics advanced was simple: They had more in reserve. Boston just couldn't make open shots and failed to capitalize on lengthy Washington offensive droughts.

The prize for winning this Eastern Conference semifinals series?

Olynyk was the victim of a Kelly Oubre Jr. shove in Game 3 that got the Wizards forward suspended for Game 4. Boston carried their positive momentum into the fourth quarter, where Olynyk took over. Olynyk had the game of his life, convincing the crowd to chant, "Kel-ly, Kel-ly" on his way to 26 points. Second-seeded Cleveland, 8-0 in the playoffs, took the season series 2-1.

In the regular season, the Cavs went 3-1 against the Celtics. Those Hawks struggled more than a top seed should against the No. 8 team and the Wizards and the Cavaliers are patiently waiting to demolish the opponent that limped through the first couple of rounds. He has averaged 25.1 points and 6 assists a game during the playoffs. In the regular season against Boston, James averaged almost a 30-point triple double (29.3 points, 9.8 assists, 9.3 rebounds) in the teams' four meetings.

Washington made it a contest with a 7-0 run in less than a minute, following a timeout by Scott Brooks, but Olynyk went to work again to help close out the contest.

  • Julie Sanders