Terry Rozier had a playoff-career-high 26 points and Al Horford tied his playoff best with 26 points and eight rebounds as the host Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-96 in Game 7 of their first-round series Saturday night.

Jayson Tatum added 20 points for Boston, which will face the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals starting Monday night in Boston.

Khris Middleton had 32 to lead Milwaukee, which was denied its first playoff series victory since the 2000-01 season. Despite forcing a seventh game, the Bucks dropped to 0-18 in team history when trailing 0-2 in the playoffs.

Eric Bledsoe scored 23 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Milwaukee.

"We thought we were the better team, but unfortunately we cannot move to the second round," Antentokounmpo said when asked if the Bucks took pride in pushing the series to seven games. "It was a good series, but we thought we were the better team.

The Celtics played in their NBA-record 31st Game 7, improving to 23-8. The Bucks dropped to 2-8 lifetime in decisive seventh games.

"We're on edge. Everything's on the line, and I felt like our players, we felt that," Horford told NBC Sports Boston after the game. "We've been doing this all year. Guys were coming together at different times and making plays, and that's what we did tonight."

The home team won every game of the best-of-seven series.

Boston's Jaylen Brown exited the game late in the first half with a sore right hamstring. He was spotted riding an exercise bicycle at the start of the second half and was later deemed available to return but did not. Brown finished with two points.

Bledsoe's basket cut Boston's lead to 54-51 with 9:33 remaining in the third quarter. Horford scored six of the Celtics' next 11 points, including an alley-oop dunk from Marcus Smart, to put the hosts up 65-55.

Tatum's 3-pointer stretched the Boston advantage to 16 late in the quarter before two Antetokounmpo free throws made it 81-67 after three.

The Bucks never got within single digits after that, and the Celtics led by as many as 19.

Boston led 50-42 at halftime.

Bledsoe's turnaround hook shot capped a 13-2 run to bring Milwaukee within 32-30 with 8:47 left in the second, but the Celtics were soon back up by double digits and went in to the locker room up by eight.

Aron Baynes' buzzer-beating jumper had Boston ahead 30-17 after the first.

Klay Thompson scored 11 of his game-high 27 points in a 25-2 second-quarter flurry Saturday 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, Calif.

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 percent 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 percent).

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 percent to 43.8.


Comments not loading?

We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Comments powered by Disqus