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Williams shines as Celtics oust Bucks; Suns eclipsed

2022-05-16 HKT 08:17
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  • Grant Williams, right, scored seven of Boston's 22 three-pointers in the Celtics' 109-81 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7. Photo: AP
    Grant Williams, right, scored seven of Boston's 22 three-pointers in the Celtics' 109-81 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7. Photo: AP
Grant Williams scored 27 points as the Boston Celtics eliminated the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday with a 109-81 game seven victory in their NBA Eastern Conference series.

Celtics forward Williams produced a deadly display of scoring from three-point range at the TD Garden as Boston advanced to a conference finals showdown with the Miami Heat with a 4-3 series win.

In the Western Conference, Luka Doncic scored 35 points as the Dallas Mavericks completed a stunning upset of the top-seeded Phoenix Suns with a jaw-dropping game seven rout in Arizona on Sunday.

In Boston, Williams's red-hot shooting from beyond the arc was emblematic of the Celtics' superiority from the field as the Bucks missed a slew of wide open looks.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 25 points 20 rebounds and nine assists for Milwaukee.

But the Celtics' three-point shooting accuracy proved the difference between the two teams as Boston completed a comeback from 3-2 down in the best-of-seven series.

Boston dropped 22 of 55 from downtown, in stark contrast to Milwaukee, who converted just four of 33 attempts from beyond the arc.

Williams led the three-point blitzkrieg with seven threes in his 27-point haul. Jayson Tatum made five-of-nine threes to finish with 23 points.

Payton Pritchard also got in on the act, with four three-pointers from the bench in a tally of 14 points.

Only one Milwaukee player -- Bobby Portis -- made multiple three-pointers. Portis finished with two in his 10-point haul.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka revealed he had encouraged Williams to shoot more aggressively, suggesting the Bucks had "disrespected" the forward by allowing him so much room to operate.

"I told him let it fly. I said 'They're disrespecting you more tonight than earlier in the series,'" Udoka said.

"He missed a few and got hesitant and I basically said 'shoot the ball, what else can you do?'"

Williams said he was only too happy to accept the challenge from Udoka and the rest of his Celtics team-mates.

"Everyone kept saying 'Let it fly, keep shooting'. So I thought 'All right, they're encouraging it, might as well take advantage.' As time went on each one got more comfortable. It was fun. It was just great that we got a win," Williams said.

"I've worked on my shot enough to be confident enough to knock those down.

"My team-mates know that if I get 18 looks I'll make 40% of them at least. It was just a matter of continuing to do what we wanted to do and keep getting those open looks.

"We hadn't put a full game together this entire series. So we said, why not now? We just did what we were supposed to do."

Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer made no excuses for the defeat, saying Boston had been the better team over the series.

"I couldn't be prouder of our team," Budenholzer said. "We've had a lot of success together, and tonight we hit a wall and met our end."

Meanwhile, Slovenian star Doncic was in magnificent form as the Mavericks romped to a 123-90 victory at Phoenix's Footprint Center to clinch the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final series 4-3.

The Suns entered the playoffs as the best team in basketball, with a regular season record of 64 wins and only 18 defeats.

But a playoff campaign which seemed poised to see a repeat of last season's advance to the NBA Finals instead ended in disarray and catcalls from their own fans.

Doncic finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while Spencer Dinwiddie gave valuable scoring support with 30 points, including five three-pointers.

Jalen Brunson also posted double figures with 24 points as Dallas advanced to a Western Conference finals showdown with the Golden State Warriors starting Wednesday.

"Amazing," Doncic said after the win. "I don't know what to say but this was amazing to win.

"Everybody played as hard as they can. We didn't have any days off. An incredible team win. I don't have nothing more to say," added Doncic, who is looking forward to facing Golden State.

"They're a championship team. It's going to be really tough again. I'm just really happy we got this win tonight.

"I'm going to enjoy this win tonight and then tomorrow I'll think about Golden State."

Phoenix, who had led 2-0 and 3-2 earlier in the series, were left reflecting on a no-show from their star names.

Suns star Devin Booker made just 11 points while Chris Paul finished with 10 points. (AFP)
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Last updated: 2022-05-16 HKT 10:53