Celtics end Bucks’ quest for back-to-back championships with Game 7 blowout

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There will be no repeat NBA champion for the fourth straight season.

The Boston Celtics eliminated the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 on Sunday 109-81.

In the first quarter, the Bucks had it right for them, outscoring the Celtics 26-20. But the slim lead quickly disappeared in the second half and by halftime Boston led by five points and never looked back.

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Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis, center, vies for control of the ball with Boston Celtics shooting guard Marcus Smart, left, and center Al Horford, right, during the first half of the Game 7 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, on Sunday, May 1. 15, 2022, in Boston.
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Boston shot 42% from the field and 40% from 3-point range.

Grant Williams led the way for the Celtics with 27 points with six rebounds and two blocks. Jayson Tatum added 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds and Jaylen Brown had 19 points and four rebounds. Payton Pritchard came off the bench and scored 14 points. He made four triples in 17 minutes.

Somehow, Boston managed to shoot well from the arc. The team hit 55 triples in the entire game, hitting 22 of them. Williams was 7-for-18 from long range. The Celtics’ hot shots from center were the key difference in the game because Milwaukee couldn’t keep up.

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  Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics reacts during Game 7 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 15, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics reacts during Game 7 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 15, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Milwaukee was an abysmal 4-for-33 from 3-point range. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis were the only ones taking shots from there.

Antetokounmpo recorded a double-double in the loss. He had 25 points and 20 rebounds to go along with nine assists. Jrue Holiday had 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

The Bucks won the NBA title last season over the Phoenix Suns but their defense has come to an end.

The Celtics will be able to renew their playoff rivalry with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dribbles against Wesley Matthews #23 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of Game Seven of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on May 15, 2022 in Boston, Mass.

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dribbles against Wesley Matthews #23 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of Game Seven of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on May 15, 2022 in Boston, Mass.
(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The two teams last played in the Eastern Conference finals in the Orlando bubble at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Miami outscored Boston in that series, 4-2. Tatum and Bam Adebayo were the top scorers for their respective teams.

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Game 1 of the conference finals is scheduled for Tuesday in Miami at 8:30 pm ET.

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