"If Kelly doesn't go nuts and they throw in a couple more threes, we're not talking about the next step", the Celtics coach said after Kelly Olynyk's huge game off the bench led Boston into the Eastern Conference finals with a 115-105 Game 7 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.
The Celtics were led by their star guard Isaiah Thomas with 29 points and a game-high 12 assists. Cleveland had eight days of rest in between the end of the first round and the start of the second round, and they'll play for the first time in 10 days when the conference finals start Wednesday night.
Wall finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but shot just 8-for-23 from the field and 1-for-8 from the 3-point line.
John Wall struggled to end the game, but it doesn't take away from the incredible season and postseason Wall had.
Boston did just that, getting timely performances from multiple players.
Gortat said the Celtics need to find additional ways to win against Cleveland.
Despite the Wizards having a 46-31 edge in rebounding, they were battered in the paint as they were outscored 58-40 by the smaller team that was more physical. Second-seeded Cleveland, 8-0 in the playoffs, took the season series 3-1. Reserves Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown scored 12 and nine points, and Boston's bench outscored Washington's bench 48-5. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m.
Beal led the Wizards, who have not reached the conference finals since 1979, with 38 points, 18 in the final 16:06. Olynyk was a flawless 8-for-8 on field goal attempts inside the arc in Game 7 and a ideal 6-for-6 on contested field goal attempts. It also marked the latest big game by the 28-year-old All-Star, in a playoff run that began in the haze of his younger sister's death in a auto accident.
On Monday night, the Celtics stood tall on the dramatic, nerve-infested stage that is an Eastern Conference semifinal Game 7.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens smiled when asked about the challenges of preparing for the Cavaliers on a quick turnaround and noted, "I've seen them play before".
The Wizards played here six times this season and lost all of them.
BOSTON (AP) - Isaiah Thomas said he didn't feel any pressure entering the first Game 7 of his career.
"I don't care how well I played", Beal said afterward. John Wall and Jae Crowder got into it after a January game in Boston which very nearly led to a brawl.
The Celtics should have won last match, given how slowly Wall and Beal started. Markieff Morris, whom the Wizards gave up a 2016 lottery pick to acquire in February 2016, played well this past season and battled an ankle injury throughout the series. "And his ability to attack the floor and attack the basket is only going to get better. he has another decade of a lot of good basketball". While it's fair to criticize him for that, hopefully it won't be what people remember about Wall's 2017 postseason.