(USA TODAY) BOSTON – The smallest player on the court came up biggest when his team needed it most, and the gangliest player on the court had the playoff game of his career.
Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas scored a team-high 29 points and added 12 assists, and Celtics backup center Kelly Olynyk scored a playoff career-high 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting as Boston eliminated the Washington Wizards with a 115-105 victory Monday in Game 7.
The Celtics overcame a playoff career-high 38 points from Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
The prize for winning this Eastern Conference semifinals series? A matchup against the rested and unbeaten Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals. Game 1 is Wednesday in Boston (8:30 p.m., TNT).
“Our focus is on staying at home and trying to play good basketball and recognizing that you’re not going to play perfect. Nobody ever has – but doing our best to leave everything we have out there on the floor,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Boston did just that, getting timely performances from multiple players.
With the Celtics trailing late in the third quarter, Boston Celtics 5-9 guard Thomas sparked a game-changing run with three three-pointers to give Boston its first double-digit lead of the game.
Thomas, who is playing with a heavy heart following the death of his 22-year-old sister Chyna in a car accident at the start of the playoffs, scored 17 of his points in the second half, including 12 in the third quarter.
Olynyk had 14 of his points in the fourth quarter and was the X-factor that swung the series in Boston’s favor. Reserves Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown scored 12 and nine points, and Boston’s bench outscored Washington’s bench 48-5.
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