Game 1 will be played at TD Garden in Boston because the Celtics finished two games ahead of the Cavs in the Eastern Conference standings. Olynyk's performance lifted the Celtics in the fourth quarter especially, and the Wizards could not get enough stops late to win the series. "I still feel like we were in control of the game".
As a team, the Celtics outpaced the Wizards 48-5 in points off the bench, while Boston made 11 shots from 3-point attempts. Olynyk was the headliner off the bench, but Marcus Smart also scored 13 points with six rebounds and four assists.
"We needed it", Olynyk said. "I think they're better than any of the four times they played us".
"I did hear that in between the "MVP!" chants for Isaiah", Olynyk joked.
The Celtics are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals, but first, they await their fate in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night.
This is Boston's first trip to the conference finals since 2012, the past year of an era fueled by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. We played them four times.
After Monday's game, Stevens hinted that Thomas is battling some bumps and bruises on top of the emotional grief he endured with the loss of his sister at the start of the playoffs.
The Celtics and the Cavs will open their series in Boston on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
"I don't care how well I played", Beal said after the defeat.
Off the bench Monday night came this 7-footer, with his long hair tucked into a bunh, who had scored a total of 26 points during his three previous games combined.
The decisive passage of play came in the third quarter when the Celtics trailed by five points with 5:39 left in the period. Washington went back to their starters around the 10-minute mark, and quickly it was a 7-0 Wizards run.
A further 9-2 run at the start of the fourth maintained Boston's cushion and although Beal was able to keep Washington in touch, Olynyk's inspired display proved the difference. Boston carried their positive momentum into the fourth quarter, where Olynyk took over.
As Wizards center Marcin Gortat said, "we tried to figure out this thing in the game really quick, but (Olynyk) just made shots".
There's plenty at stake for also-rans such as Philadelphia, New Orleans and Sacramento. They appeared content to dare the rest of the Celtics to beat them. After all, this was a series that followed its own internal logic, something we desperately needed while the rest of the National Basketball Association playoff picture was falling into place in the most predictable manner possible. In fact, after getting all decked out in black apparel and failing to cease the Wizards season, the Celtics pitifully denied their all-black outfits as just a coincidence. And with their season in the balance, this instinct showed in the worst time.
To say the Celtics have a lot to look forward to in the future would be an understatement.
The Lakers don't have that luxury.
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