Isaiah Thomas made no secret about wanting to not just play well in Game 7, but deliver the kind of performance that not only led to victory but would also be remembered for quite some time.
The Boston Celtics beat the Washington Wizards 115-105 in Game 7 of their series Monday night in Boston to advance.
WinnersView.com brings stories and statistics together to make you smarter about the sports and games you love. "We came up short".
"Everyone gave their best tonight, and it turned out well", said Olynyk, who grew up in Kamloops, B.C.
Both the Wizards and Celtics have yet to win a road game this series and the Wizards are 1-5 overall on the road in the 2017 National Basketball Association playoffs.
"We needed it", Olynyk admitted.
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All jokes aside, both the Eastern Conference finals and the Western Conference finals look pretty much exactly as they were expected to: the Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East and the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs in the West. It is the Celtics' first appearance in the conference finals since 2012.
The beginning of the end of the Wizards' season came with 1:46 to play in the third and Washington leading, 79-76.
For Thomas, it serves as the ultimate validation for a team that many felt was unworthy of the conference's top seed.
Whether Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart-and Olynyk, apparently-can give the Cavs a true run for their money, however, remains to be seen. But Bradley Beal got loose for whatever he wanted on the perimeter, and both teams played too nervously to truly break away until the start of the third quarter. Olynyk was a flawless 8-for-8 on field goal attempts inside the arc in Game 7 and a ideal 6-for-6 on contested field goal attempts. "We know it's going to be tough but, at this point, anything can happen, we really believe that". "The only thing that matters is getting a win".
After registering a big fat goose egg scoring in Game 6, Porter bounced back nicely with 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and a blocked shot. But in the crucial Game 7, Markieff Morris and Otto Porter scored 38 points, the same as Beal; but Porter added 10 rebounds, while Martin Gortat had six points and 11 rebounds.
Who led the Celtics, you ask?
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But Washington quickly responded, scoring seven straight in just 51 seconds to cut the deficit to six.
Just a few minutes later, Smart took the same walk and smiled at Olynyk - already sitting in his vehicle and waiting to go home. He scored 11 of 13 points for Boston as the Celtics stretched their advantage to 110-100. A lot of those shots that others made in the fourth quarter were off of his passes or started with them putting two guys on Isaiah. "He was the difference today - a huge difference".
Beal said after the loss.
Crunch time is known as "I.T".
"What a special opportunity to get a chance to compete against them", Boston coach Brad Stevens said. Bojan Bogdanovic was the only Wizards reserve to score, and he was a minus-19 in 16 minutes. With a core led by Wall and Beal, though, they'll be just fine.
"It's tough", Wall said.
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