NBA Playoffs Update: The Conference Finals are Set After Blowout Wins for Boston and Dallas
We will not have an NBA Finals rematch after the Suns and Bucks both fall in Game 7 on Sunday.
Celtics 109, Bucks 81
Series: BOS WINS 4-3
Down go the defending champions.
On Sunday evening, the Boston Celtics knocked off the Bucks in a winner take all Game 7 in Boston, which I sure didn’t see coming. The Celtics rode the three-point shot for a large portion of the series, with the team draining 22 triples in Game 7. Boston’s 22 threes marked the most in a Game 7 in NBA history. Meanwhile, Milwaukee shot 33 triples and made just four.
The Bucks gave Boston wide-open looks from range all night, and Boston made them pay for it with a memorable shooting performance. Grant Williams, who has a career average of 5.4 points per game in three seasons with the Celtics, had the game of a lifetime on Sunday, as he scored 27 points and hit seven three-pointers.
I thought the cream had risen to the top when Milwaukee erased a 14-point deficit to beat the Celtics on Wednesday and took a 3-2 lead in the series with things heading back to the midwest. I thought the series was over and that even without Khris Middleton, the defending champs were just too much for the Celtics. I’m sure many thought the same. But, boy, were we wrong. The Celtics battled back to even things up in Milwaukee on Friday night and then blew the doors off the Bucks to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals.
“This is the group I feel like it’s poised enough to get it done,” Jaylen Brown told The Athletic. “I feel like everything that we’ve overcome, all these battles and challenges and adversity that we’ve been through this season, as well as the challenge that we just had in overcoming the defending champs, I think that we are prepared. I think that we’re ready to take that next step. We just got to go out and take it.”
Jayson Tatum scored 23 points in the victory, while Brown added 19 points for the Celtics. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and pulled down 20 rebounds to go with 9 assists, but his big performance wasn’t enough for Milwaukee as their season and their title defense ended at the TD Garden.
The Celtics will take on the top-seeded Miami Heat in the conference finals, with that series kicking off in less than 48 hours!
Mavericks 123, Suns 90
Series: DAL WINS 4-3
I dare you to find a picture of Luka Dončić in Sunday’s Game 7 without a smile on his face.
With the Mavs mopping the floor with the defending Western Conference Champions all night long, Dončić couldn’t hide his grin as he scored 35 points and logged 10 rebounds to cap off a masterful series that saw him average 32.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in seven games.
Luka Doncic is HIM
He finishes the first half with 27 points 🔥
WIN or GO HOME Game 7 on TNT pic.twitter.com/iwNqBc9XJG
— NBA (@NBA) May 16, 2022
If you were expecting a classic Game 7 in this one, you were probably disappointed. This game was over from the jump, as the Mavs knocked off the 64-win Suns in convincing fashion while Luka made it look easy.
Much like the Celtics on the other side of the slate, the Mavericks punched their ticket to the conference finals by living on the three-ball. Dallas hit 19 triples, and they’ve shot 12.9 threes per 100 possessions in this postseason. John Hollinger wrote about “space ball,” the recurring theme for the two winners on Sunday, and how they’re riding the three-point shot to the conference finals.
Check that out below:
What is “space ball”?
The latest evolution in a postseason tactical game that continues evolving at a dizzying pace, @johnhollinger writes.
And it generated an impossible math problem for the Suns and Bucks.https://t.co/6l6cADso6w pic.twitter.com/0HRMYC45Bo
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) May 16, 2022