BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett took a behind-the-back pass from Paul Pierce, slammed in the dunk to make the lead three dozen points and then slashed his hand across his throat to signal what the Atlanta Hawks already knew.
"It's over," he told the crowd.
The game. The series. The surprising little scare Atlanta put into the NBA's best regular-season team.
Garnett had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Pierce scored 22 points, and the Celtics turned back the pesky Hawks with a 99-65 victory Sunday in Game 7 of their playoff series to advance to the second round.
Next up: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game 1 is Tuesday night.
"They're a group that's defending Eastern Conference champs," Garnett said. "To do anything, you've got to go through them. . . . I think it should be a good series."
The Celtics started the celebration early, holding the Hawks to 10 points in the second quarter and doubling their 18-point halftime lead in the third.
"I wish we could have played all of our games in Atlanta," said Coach Mike Woodson, whose team never came close in Boston.
"Nobody thought we had an opportunity to even win a game in this series. We battled them right to the end. We just didn't have it today."