This will be the fourth conference finals appearance for the Celtics in the last six years.
There will be a new NBA champion this season. After a hard-fought seven games series, it will be the Boston Celtics that advance to the Eastern Conference finals after they pulled out an impressive 109-81 victory over the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 on Sunday afternoon.
The Celtics were down in the series 3-2 after five games, but they were able to avoid elimination in Game 6, and they did the same again in Game 7. Now, they'll face off against the Miami Heat for an opportunity to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
Grant Williams led the way for the Celtics (yes, you read that correctly) with 27 points and six rebounds. Jayson Tatum had 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Jaylen Brown added 19 points and eight rebounds for Boston.
As he did all series, Giannis Antetokounmpo did everything he could for Milwaukee, as he finished with 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists. Ultimately though, his production wasn't enough to lift the Bucks back to the conference finals. It's tough to overstate how much the Bucks missed Khris Middleton in this series, especially in Game 7 when they struggled to produce points outside of Antetokounmpo. Middleton averaged 20.1 points per game during the regular season.
There are no excuses in the playoffs, though, and the Celtics proved to be the better team over the course of the series, and now they'll face an extremely tough test in the Heat. But before moving on to the conference finals, here's a look at three key takeaways from Boston's Game 7 victory over Milwaukee.
1. 3-point disparity
The 3-point disparity between Boston and Milwaukee was probably the single biggest factor in the outcome of Game 7. The Celtics rained down 22 3-pointers over the course of the contest, and they converted their 55 attempts at a 40 percent clip. The Bucks, on the other hand, converted just four of their 33 attempts from long range. That equates to an anemic 12 percent. Two players on the Celtics -- Jayson Tatum (5-of-9 from long range) and Grant Williams (7-of-18) made more triples than the entire Bucks team.
The 22 3-pointers that Boston hit were the most ever in a Game 7 in NBA history, and the most in a playoff game in Celtics history, per ESPN. The Celtics have an extremely rich history, so that's a pretty impressive statistic. Overall, Boston outscored Milwaukee by a whopping 54 points from long range on Sunday. That's a staggering number that would be virtually insurmountable for almost any team, including the Bucks on Sunday afternoon.
2. Grant Williams' explosion
Grant Williams was a key contributor for the Celtics all series, due largely to the solid defense that he was able to play on Giannis, but in Game 7, Williams exploded on the offensive end. Williams took advantage of a Milwaukee defense that was paying extra attention to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and basically daring him to shoot to the tune of 27 points in his 39 minutes of action.
The 27 points that he scored were more than he had scored in the previous four games of the series combined. In the process, Williams became just the third player ever to hit seven 3-pointers in a Game 7, per ESPN. Stephen Curry and Marcus Morris are the only other two players to ever accomplish the feat. The game was the first time ever that Williams led the Celtics in scoring. It's safe to say that he picked a good time to have a career performance.
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3. Antetokounmpo makes NBA postseason history
Boston's win in the series came despite the dominance of Antetokounmpo. He had three separate 40-point performances in the series, and he gave the Celtics all that they could handle over the course of the seven games. In addition to his sheer scoring, Antetokounmpo also grabbed over 14 rebounds and dished out over seven assists per performance in the series. He made some history in the process, as he became the first player ever to record 200 points, 100 rebounds and 50 assists in the same playoff series.
It was an incredible individual performance on Antetokounmpo's part, and he has no reason to hang his head, despite the fact that the Bucks ultimately fell short in the series. Many consider Antetokounmpo as the best player in the league currently, and it's tough to disagree after the way he played against Boston.