The Celtics fell behind by six points to the Washington Wizards about halfway through the third quarter of Monday night's Game 7 at TD Garden.
"I think the bench was a big factor in Game 5 (a Boston win at home) and Game 7 certainly was as well", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. The Celtics won 115-105 to adva.
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. And teams such as the Celtics won't just lay down and let the Wizards have what they want when they want it like the Suns, Kings and Blazers. His 29 points were vital before Olynyk got things really rolling, and his confidence is to a point where a deep three-pointer with 10 minutes to go felt like a dagger. Now it's time to see if they belong.
To make matters even greater, a Wizards win on Monday would be the city's first Conference Finals appearance among the four major sports since 1998. Asked if Boston could be deemed ahead of schedule by simply making the conference finals, Bradley refused to put a ceiling on what the Celtics are capable of this season.
These Celtics aren't short on belief, though, and their confidence has been intensified by a postseason filled with adversity. If it's the Celtics, it will be on the back of a Thomas masterclass. In the next round, the Wizards and Celtics had no love lost, with Boston closing them out in seven games. The Celtics will have their hands full with the Cavaliers, who are healthy and clicking at the right time of the season.
Washington continued to hang around, cutting the deficit to four points following a four-point play by Beal with 6:09 left in the game. "They are going to give them a hell of a fight, and it is going to be an interesting series for you guys to watch".
Brooks, who is 2-0 as a coach in Game 7s, swatted aside the thought of delivering a motivating speech before the game. They'll get their first shot in the Garden Wednesday night. "The game wasn't always what we wanted it to be and it wasn't a ideal game. We don't care about what others say". In my opinion, he is one of the most underrated point guards in the league, and he is one of five guys I would build a team around in the National Basketball Association at this point.
The Celtics were the 2nd best team defending 3-pointers this season, and they're 2nd best in the playoffs so far.
Boston's mettle has been tested. Thomas has had some struggles lately in the playoffs, too, seeing his production dip after his stunning 53-point performance in Game 2 of the conference semis. From there, J.R. Smith struck Jae Crowder in the face in Game 4 and was suspended. We've always believed we had a chance to be first place [in the East], that we'd have a chance to be where we are now. "But we have a special opportunity to get a chance to compete against them". Boston hit four of its last six from three, and that helped change the dynamic. He rattled home an open three to start the run and made winning plays all over the floor to keep it rolling.
The Cleveland Cavaliers finally know their opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals.
"We're excited", Thomas said. "And they just stayed at it, and they beat us down". We have a lot of guys that have playoff experience.