NBA playoffs: Celtics beat Bucks in Game 7; Warriors take Game 1 over Pelicans
Al Horford and Terry Rozier scored 26 points apiece, and even Giannis Antetokounmpo tipped in a basket for the Celtics on Saturday night to help Boston beat Milwaukee 112-96 in Game 7 of their first-round series and eliminate the Bucks and the Greek Freak from the playoffs.
Horford had eight rebounds, Rozier had nine assists and Jayson Tatum added 20 points for the Celtics, who rode the home-court advantage to win all four games in Boston and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second straight year.
They will meet the Philadelphia 76ers, with Game 1 in Boston on Monday night.
Khris Middleton scored 32, Eric Bledsoe had 23 and Antetokounmpo had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks. Milwaukee has advanced from the first round of the playoffs just once since 1989, losing nine straight playoff series since Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell brought George Karl to the Eastern Conference finals in 2001.
Playing in their NBA-record 31st Game 7, the Celtics improved to 20-4 at home and 23-8 overall in best-of-seven clinchers. It was the second Game 7 at the TD Garden this week, with the Boston Bruins beating the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night to advance in the NHL playoffs.
Tatum had nine points in the first, when the Celtics scored 15 straight points — including a tip-in by Antetokounmpo into the Boston hoop — and 20 of the last 22 to end the quarter with a 30-17 lead. Milwaukee scored 11 in a row at the beginning of the second to make it a two-point game, but Boston answered with nine in a row to make it 41-30.
The Celtics led 50-42 at the half despite going 1-for-12 from 3-point range. Horford had 14 points and seven rebounds at the break, and Bledsoe had 12 points for the Bucks.
Milwaukee cut the deficit to three points early in the third but Boston scored 11 of the last 15 points in the quarter.
at Warriors 123, Pelicans 101: Kevin Durant had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Draymond Green dazzled all over the floor with his fourth career postseason triple-double, and the Golden State Warriors thoroughly overmatched the New Orleans Pelicans.
Green finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and two blocks and just with his hustle and energy helped the defending champions pull away with a superb, decisive second quarter.
Now, they likely get Stephen Curry back for Game 2 on Tuesday night and all that he brings — even if in a limited role initially.
Anthony Davis had 21points and 10 rebounds, scoring 10 in the first quarter before having a tougher time generating shots the rest of the way to finish 9 for 20. Jrue Holiday was held to 4-for-14 shooting and 11 points. Golden State again played without two-time MVP Curry, who has been sidelined since March 23 with a sprained left knee. Coach Steve Kerr called it “very likely” Curry would play Game 2 in the best-of-seven series.
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