Celtics finish Wizards in Game 7, advance to Eastern Conference finals: Takeaways
Kelly Olynyk’s big night boosts the Celtics to victory
The second Game 7 of the 2017 NBA playoffs did not disappoint. The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards dueled for the full 48 minutes, but after a second-half surge, the Celtics did enough to earn a trip back to the Eastern Conference finals, winning 115-105.
Unlike many of the previous games in this series, it was the Celtics who jumped out to the early advantage, leading 10-2 after the first few minutes. 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.
Throughout the first part of the third quarter, it was the same story, with Washington still clinging to a four-point lead with just over four minutes to go in the frame. From there, however, it was all Celtics, as they closed the third on a 13-3 run, capped off by a Marcus Smart triple that put them up 85-79 going into the final 12 minutes.
A quick burst from Boston soon pushed its advantage to 13 points, but it didn’t last long, as a well-taken timeout from Scott Brooks settled down the Wizards, and they got right back into the game. John Wall and Co. were never able to get over the hump as the Celtics kept them at an arm’s length the rest of the way, hitting timely baskets again and again.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 29 points, while Kelly Olynyk stepped up off the bench to added in 26. Bradley Beal was spectacular for the Wizards, pouring in 38 points, but it just wasn’t enough.
Here are a few takeaways from an exciting Game 7:
Kelly Olynyk steps up
Well, everyone expected the Celtics’ role players to step up at home, but no one could have foreseen a 26-point explosion from Kelly Olynyk. Before this, Olynyk’s playoff career-high was just 14 points — the same amount he scored in the fourth quarter alone. He was an efficient 10-of-14 from the floor, while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists, putting together easily the best game of his career. This was only the second time all season that Olynyk had scored 20 or more points, as he matched the 26 points he put up against the Hawks in January. Olynyk said after the game that Brad Stevens told him, “You have to be at your best when your best is needed,” and Olynyk was certainly at his best Monday night.
Olynyk’s performance impressed everyone who watched, especially Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown, who has some high hopes if the big man is able to keep it up.