Celtics overcome Wizards, set up Cavs clash

BIGGER CHALLENGE AHEAD

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BOSTON-Canadian Kelly Olynyk scored a career-playoff high 26 points and the Boston Celtics used a big fourth quarter to outlast the Washington Wizards 115-105 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night. "But we have a special opportunity to get a chance to compete against them".

Olynyk's outstanding contributions off the bench highlighted how little the Wizards got from their reserves.

Thomas, who is playing with a heavy heart following the death of his 22-year-old sister Chyna in a auto accident at the start of the playoffs, scored 17 of his points in the second half, including 12 in the third quarter.

"Everyone gave their best tonight and it turned out well", Olynyk said. Now they come in as the significant underdog against a Cleveland Cavaliers team that has apparently flipped the switch so hard that they ripped it off the wall.

It's do-or-die when the Washington Wizards take on the Boston Celtics in a Game 7 decider for the ages in Boston. They are a great team. That was quickly neutralized by the Wizards, however, and for the rest of the half, the game was back and forth, with Washington holding a two-point advantage at the break.

Otto Porter and Markieff Morris had 20 and 18 points, respectively.

Boston trailed 76-72 late in the third quarter before ending the period on a 13-3 spurt. They kept going, turning that run into 22-5 to open the fourth quarter and extend their lead to 13. But Olynyk then took over.

A key point stretch came with the Celtics leading 34-33.

Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, left, applauds from the sideline during the second quarter of Game 7 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Monday, May 15, 2017, in Boston.

His fourth quarter performance earned a standing ovation as he was subbed out with just over a minute to play.

The Wizards got a career night out of Bradley Beal. Still have not reached a conference final since 1979. Outrebounded the Celtics 43-31. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. In fact, if the Wizards can somehow make the Finals for the first time in close to 40 years, it will be the first time that any professional sports team (NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL) have made it since 1998.

The Cs edged Cleveland for first place in the East during the regular season, and have homecourt in this series.

Who: Washington Wizards vs.

NEED TO KNOW: When it comes to Game 7s, no franchise has been in more of them than the Celtics.

Game 2 is Friday, May 19 in Boston, Game 3 is Sunday, May 21 in Cleveland and Game 4 is next Tuesday, May 23 in Cleveland. As a unit, Washington's bench scored five combined points-all of which were courtesy of Bojan Bogdanovic. The home team won all 11 meetings this season.

KEEP AN EYE ON: The scoring production of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

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