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Celtics knock out Wizards and await Cavaliers in Eastern Conference finals

Celtics knock out Wizards and await Cavaliers in Eastern Conference finals
The suspense ended in the Eastern Conference semifinal with the Boston Celtics’ 115-105 victory over the Washington Wizards in the decisive seventh game that allowed them to win the best-of-seven series 4-3.
Now his rival will be the Cleveland Cavalies, who as of Wednesday await in their TD Garden field to play the first game of the best-of-seven series in the Eastern Conference finals.
Although they have the field advantage the Celtics in the regular season series between both teams lost it by 1-3, something that the Celtics players say is part of the past, which is now a different competition and they are a more mature and experienced team.
In addition, the Cavaliers enter the tie rested with 10 days without seeing action after having swept (4-0) the semifinal series against the Toronto Raptors and are unbeaten (8-0) so far in the playoffs.
Again, point guard Isiah Thomas, who refused to have felt any special pressure in the deciding game, was the leading scorer, scoring a double-double of 29 points and 12 assists.
The real hero, though, was Canadian backup center Kelly Olynyk, who surprised with 26 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter when the Celtics’ victory was decided.
“I knew that tonight’s game would be great. I also knew that it was not going to be easy at all, “said Thomas after having achieved what was the most important victory of his professional career. “But we were victorious.”
Thomas said they don’t have time to think too much about going to the finals and all they need to do is make the most of the break to be ready when they face the Cavaliers on Wednesday.
“Sure we are not as favorites, but that does not matter since we know what we have to do to take advantage of the opportunities in order to achieve victory in the first match of the finals,” said Thomas.
But without Thomas fulfilled his status as the undisputed leader of the team, the big winning surprise was Olynyk, who led a great contribution from the Celtics’ reserves, who were the ones who in the end made the difference in his favor.
The Celtics received from the reserves the contribution of 48 points for only five ce the Wizards, who saw that after the starting five they could not compete with the Boston bench.
Boston also hit 11 3-pointers, including 8 of 13 in the second half.
“We needed this,” Olynyk emphasized. “We have played seven very tough games against a very good team that can score. We needed to help the headlines, help Isaiah.
Olynyk admitted that facing the league champions will not be an easy mission, but they will be ready to fight to the fullest again and show that they are a winning team, returning to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2012.
“What a great opportunity to compete against them!” Said coach Brad Stevens. “We must make ourselves aware that we have already achieved something important and now we have to go further.”
For Thomas, having anchored in the conference final vindicates a team some deemed unworthy of the East’s top spot after the regular season.
In addition, the classification was achieved with another great performance by Thomas, the protagonist of a playoffs that began on the dates his younger sister died from a car accident.
The 28-year-old has said he takes refuge from sadness on the basketball court. He has not stopped praising his teammates for giving him the strength to continue playing at his highest level.
“This speaks volumes about the team we are, and how we trust each other,” Thomas stressed. “The game didn’t always go the way we wanted, it wasn’t a perfect game, but we kept fighting.”
Dominican center Al Horford contributed 15 points, six rebounds and five assists to the Boston cause.
While guard Bradley Beal led the Wizards, in a seventh game for the first time since 1979, with 38 points, 24 of which came in the second half.
Forward Otto Porter added 20 points. John Wall and Markieff Morris finished with 18 each. But Washington racked up 15 turnovers, which led to 17 Celtics points, and the Boston team was the best in the end.
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