Sunday’s NBA action was kicked off with a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.
Boston avoided elimination on Friday to force Game 7. They continued their momentum and finished the series on Sunday, winning 109-81 — eliminating the Bucks from the playoffs.
Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum (23 points) helped Boston get off to a strong first half, heading into the break. Despite the primetime performance, Tatum’s impact was second to the role players’ respective performances on Sunday.
Tatum picked up his fourth foul of the game halfway through the third. Milwaukee was unable to capitalize on Tatum’s absence.
The rest of the Celtics did a vital job of holding down the fort with their star on the bench to their credit.
In the third, the Celtics backcourt lucked out with some offensive fouls handed to the eager Bucks.
TD Garden was as unforgiving as the officials — keeping the Bucks off-balance with jeering fans and a slippery court.
Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard and Grant Williams were vital to the Celtics’ win, leading the team with hustle on both sides of the ball.
Williams had the best game of his career: scoring 27 points and shooting 7-of-18 from three.
Smart contributed with 11 points, seven rebounds and pestering energy to keep the Bucks on edge.
Pritchard (14 points) drilled some dagger three’s in the fourth quarter as the Celtics held a double-digit lead in the final 12 minutes.
Bucks couldn’t get shots to fall in, making the need for All-Star forward Khris Middleton more apparent.
Giannis struggled offensively in the second half and saw several easy layups fall in and out of the rim. He ended with 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists.
Milwaukee’s lazy defense on the perimeter opened up the door for Boston’s offense to take off from beyond the arc: hitting 22-of-55 attempts.
The 2021-22 NBA champs are heading home to Milwaukee with a semi-finals exit.
Ime Udoka’s Celtics advance to face the Miami Heat.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela