Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2017 Contents sports A43
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BOSTON---Isaiah Thomas said he didn't
feel any pressure entering the first
Game 7 of his career.
His play backed up his confidence and
with the help of Kelly Olynyk and the Boston
Celtics bench, Thomas earned the biggest
win of his career.
Thomas scored 29 points and had 12
assists while Olynyk scored a career play-
off high 26 points as the Celtics used a big
fourth quarter to outlast the Washington
Wizards 115-105 in Game seven of the East-
ern Conference semi-finals Monday night.
"I knew it would be a big time game to-
night. I knew it wouldn't be easy at all,"
Thomas said. "And we came out on top."
Led by Olynyk, the Celtics got a huge lift
from their bench, outscoring their Wizards'
counterparts 48-5. Boston also connected
on 11 three-pointers, including eight of 13
in the second half.
Boston advances to the Eastern Confer-
ence finals where it will host the Cleveland
Cavaliers in Game 1 today. It's the Celtics
first appearance in the conference finals
"What a special opportunity to get a
chance to compete against them," Boston
coach Brad Stevens said.
For Thomas it serves as the ultimate
validation for a team that many felt was
unworthy of the conference's top seed. It
also marked the latest big performance by
Thomas, in a play-off run that began in the
haze of his younger sister's death in a car ac-
cident. The 28-year-old All-Star has called
the basketball court his sanctuary and he
continues to credit his teammates for giving
him the strength to perform at a high level.
"That says a lot about the team we are
and we believe in each other," Thomas said.
"The game wasn't always what we wanted
it to be and it wasn't a perfect game. But we
kept going and stayed the course."
Bradley Beal led the Wizards---which was
playing it its first Game 7 since 1979---with
38 points, including 24 in the second half.
"I don't care how well I played," Beal said
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) celebrates
with centre Kelly Olynyk (41) after Olynyk sank a
basket during the fourth quarter of Game 7 of a
second-round NBA basketball play-off series against
the Washington Wizards, Monday in Boston. Celtics
won 115-105. AP PHOTO
Celtics power past Wizards in Game 7
afterward. "I don't care if I played bad. The end re-
sult...the only thing that matters is getting a win."
Otto Porter added 20 points. John Wall and Markieff
Morris each finished with 18. But Washington also
had 15 turnovers, leading to 17 Celtics' points.
Boston trailed 76-72 late in the third quarter be-
fore ending the period on a 13-3 spurt. The run grew
to 22-5 in the opening minutes of the fourth as the
Celtics' lead became 94-81.
But Washington quickly responded, scoring seven
straight in just 51 seconds to get back within six.
Washington stayed close as Beal continued to score,
including a four-point play. But Olynyk then took
over. He scored 11 of 13 points for Boston as the Celtics
stretched their advantage to 110-100.
Brooks played Beal and Wall 46 and 45 minutes
respectively but said it was necessary to try to stay
in the game.
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.
Marcus Smart, Amir Johnson and Olynyk all were
whistled for three fouls in the opening 24 minutes,
though Smart did inject some life into a second unit
that outscored their Wizards' counterparts 19-5. (AP)
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