Celtics Knock Out the Reigning NBA Champs Bucks to Make the Eastern Finals

Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics in 2018
Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics in 2018. Photo by Rob Sambles/Frozen in Motion/REX/Shutterstock (9306395x)

The Milwaukee Bucks’ bid to repeat as the NBA champions has come to an end. The Bucks were eliminated by the Boston Celtics after losing the deciding Game 7 on Sunday night.

The 109-81 win now sees the Celtics advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they’ll meet the Miami Heat. This will be Boston’s fourth Eastern Finals appearance in the past six seasons.

It didn’t look good for the Celtics early on as the Bucks raced to the 26-20 lead to close out the first quarter. But Boston tightened their defense in the second quarter, holding Milwaukee to just 17 points. At the same time, the offense started to click, and they went on the break holding a 48-43 lead.

The Bucks managed to stay in the game through the third quarter, but their comeback attempts fell apart in the final period. The Celtics went on a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter and then continued to keep their opponents at bay for the rest of the game.

The Celtics saw a big contribution from Grant Williams, who was the game’s leading scorer. Williams finished the night with career-high 27 points and went 7-13 from the three-point line. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown added 23 and 19, respectively.

“He came up big,” Tatum said of Williams’ heroics. “He played amazing. In the playoffs, you need that. You need guys coming off the bench to be a star in their role.”

GiannisAntetokounmpo was the most prolific Bucks’ scorer on the night, getting a near-triple double with 25 points, 20 rebounds, and nine assists. Jrue Holiday had 21 points and 10 assists, while Brook Lopez added 15 points.