BOSTON, Sporting Alert — Isaiah Thomas scored 29 points and Kelly Olynyk added a career playoff-best of 26 points off the bench and the Boston Celtics beat the Washington Wizards 115-105 in Game 7 on Monday night to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Boston will host defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the conference finals on Wednesday night.
The Wizards and the Celtics kept the fans on the edge for most of the contest with traded buckets and runs, before the home side came to life.
Trailing 76-72 late in the third quarter, the Celtics caught fire and used a 13-3 run to build an advantage.
The lively spurt improved to 22-5 in the opening minutes of the fourth as Thomas and Olynyk made key buckets to extend the Celtics’ lead to 94-81.
Washington made it a contest with a 7-0 run in less than a minute, following a timeout by Scott Brooks, but Olynyk went to work again to help close out the contest.
Thomas added 12 assists, while Olynyk, who scored 11 of Boston’s 13 points late in the battle, shot 10-of-14 from the field and added five rebounds and four assists.
By himself, reserve Olynyk also outscored Washington’s bench 26-5.
Starting center Al Horford finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with six rebounds and five assists, Jae Crowder had 14 points with five rebounds and Marcus Smart ended with 13 points and six boards off the bench for the Celtics.
Bradley Beal paced the Wizards with 38 points on 12-of-22 shooting.
Beal was posting a playoffs career-high in points, which included a late four-point play in a battling 24-point second half individual performance.
“I don’t care how well I played,” Beal said after the defeat. “I don’t care if I played bad.
“The end result…The only thing that matters is getting a win.”
However, the shooting guard was dissatisfied with the overall result as he saw his season coming to an end.
Otto Porter Jr. finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, John Wall added 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds and Markieff Morris ended with 18 points and nine boards for the Wizards, who, according to ESPN Stats and Information, were playing their first Game 7 since 1979.
As a team, the Celtics outpaced the Wizards 48-5 in points off the bench, while Boston made 11 shots from 3-point attempts.
“We needed it,” Olynyk admitted. “That’s a tough team that we played seven tough games against and they can score. We needed to help out the starters, help out Isaiah.”
Thomas added: “That says a lot about the team we are and we believe in each other.
“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.”
The Celtics, who are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference will be hoping for a better series in the post-season against the Cavaliers after losing the regular season series to Cleveland 3-1.
“What a special opportunity to get a chance to compete against them,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said ahead of the Cavs matchup.