LOS ANGELES — Terry Rozier and Al Horford scored 26 points each as the Boston Celtics routed the Milwaukee Bucks, 112-96, in game seven to book their spot in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
The Celtics’ victory in Saturday’s deciding game was their fourth win at the Boston Garden as the home teams won all seven games in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
“We got it done that is the most important thing,” said Rozier. “Before this series everybody doubted us. But we believed in each other and it worked out for us.”
The storied Celtics franchise is now 36-0 lifetime when leading a playoff series 2-0, and they will try to make it 37 straight when they face the Philadelphia 76ers in the next round. Game one is Monday in Boston.
“We got to pay attention to details and take away what they want to do,” Rozier said of the next round.
Jayson Tatum tallied 20 points for the Celtics in the win.
The loss means the elimination of Giannis Antetokounmpo from the playoffs. Antetokounmpo, whose blend of size and athleticism has earned him the nickname the “Greek Freak,” finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.
Khris Middleton scored 32 and Eric Bledsoe chipped 23 in the loss.
Boston led 50-42 at the half despite going one-for-12 from beyond the arc.
Horford had 14 points and seven rebounds at halftime, while Bledsoe paced the Milwaukee attack with 12 points.
The Bucks narrowed the Boston lead to three points early in the third, but Boston scored 11 of the last 15 points in the quarter to seize command.
Klay Thompson scored 11 of his game-high 27 points in a 25-2 second-quarter flurry yesterday night that propelled the Golden State Warriors to a 123-101 blowout victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals in Oakland, California.
In winning their 13th consecutive playoff game at home, the Warriors once again played without injured guard Stephen Curry, who had been considered a possibility for the game but was held out in a late pre-game decision.
Curry is expected to play when the best-of-seven series resumes with Game 2 in Oakland on Tuesday.
“He’ll incorporate himself back in our offense, we don’t need to work to get him involved,” Warriors center Draymond Green told TNT.
The sixth-seeded Pelicans, coming off a four-game sweep over Portland in the first round, shot 60% in the first quarter and led by as many as five points before the Warriors ran off in a dominant second-quarter performance.
Golden State led just 51-46 with 7:22 left in the first half before Thompson (11), Kevin Durant (six) and Green (six) accounted for 23 of the 25 points in the run-away burst that produced a 76-48 lead in the final minute of the second period.
The second-seeded Warriors ran up a franchise-record 76 points in the first half, and the Pelicans, who have never won a second-round playoff series, didn’t threaten over the final 24 minutes.
“We knew we had to come out, get the ball moving and get everyone on the floor involved,” Green said. “We knew if we did that, we could pick them apart.”
Thompson hit 10 of his 22 field-goal attempts and four of his nine 3-pointers, helping Golden State outscore New Orleans 33-24 from beyond the arc.
The Pelicans made just eight of their 25 3-point attempts (32%).
Durant had a 26-point, 13-rebound double-double, while Green recorded his fourth career playoff triple-double with 16 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists for the Warriors, who have beaten the Pelicans in 25 of their past 27 head-to-heads, including a 4-0 sweep in the 2015 first round.
Andre Iguodala added 12 points, Quinn Cook 11 and Shaun Livingston 10 for Golden State, which advanced to the second round by eliminating San Antonio 4-1.
Anthony Davis recorded a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Pelicans, who had won 126-120 in their most recent trip to Oakland earlier in the month.
E’Twaun Moore had 15 points, Jordan Crawford 14, Jrue Holiday 11 and Rajon Rondo nine to go with 11 assists and eight rebounds for New Orleans, which got out-shot 48.4% to 43.8%. — AFP/Reuters