Boston, Massachusetts, USA: The Boston Celtics eliminated the seventh-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, 112-96, in Game 7, at the TD Garden, Saturday, to set up an Eastern Conference semifinals series with third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers on Monday at 8 pm. The Monday game would be played in Boston because the second-seeded Celtics have the higher seed.
The Bucks have now lost nine straight series since winning two in 2001 and are 0-18 all-time when trailing a series 0-2. The Celtics are 36-0 when leading a series 2-0
Al Horford and Terry Rozier scored 26 points apiece, and even Giannis Antetokounmpo tipped in a basket for the Celtics who rode the home-court advantage to win all four games in Boston.
Horford had eight rebounds, Rozier had nine assists and Jayson Tatum added 20 points for the Celtics.
Khris Middleton scored 32, Eric Bledsoe had 23 and Antetokounmpo had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks.
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
This marks the first time the Sixers and Celtics will meet in the playoffs since 2012.
Game 2 of the conference semifinal will be at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Garden. The series moves to the Wells Fargo Center for the next two games. Game 3 is Saturday. Game 4 will be on May 7. The times are to be determined. If needed, Game 5 would be back in Boston on May 9. Game 6 would be May 11 in Philadelphia, while Game 7 would be in Boston on May 13.
The Celtics won three of this season’s four regular-season meetings. Boston won, 102-92, on Oct. 20 in Philly; 108-97 on Nov. 30 in Boston, and 114-113 on Jan. 11 in London. The Sixers beat a Celtics squad minus all-star point guard Kyrie Irving, 89-80, on Jan. 18 in Boston.
For this series, Irving is sidelined due to season-ending surgery on his left knee. Jaylen Brown may miss time, too. He missed the entire second half of Game 7 with a hamstring issue.
Meanwhile, the Sixers have won 20 of their last 21 games. Point guard Ben Simmons, the rookie-of-the-year front runner, is playing at an all-NBA level. So is Joel Embiid. The all-star center returned three games ago after missing 10 straight with a fractured orbital bone near his left eye. And key reserves Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova weren’t Sixers the last time the teams met.
The Sixers clinched their series 4-1 against the Miami Heat with Tuesday’s Game 5 victory at the Wells Fargo Center.