NBA play-offs: Boston Celtics knock out defending champion Milwaukee Bucks
Defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated from the NBA play-offs after a heavy defeat by the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference semi-final decider.
The Celtics won game seven 109-81 at home and will now face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
Grant Williams hit 27 points, including seven three-pointers, for Boston, while Jayson Tatum added 23.
Giannis Antetokounmpo top scored for the Bucks with 25 points.
The two-time former MVP started strongly as the Bucks led 26-20 after the first quarter, but then cooled off as the Celtics streaked away.
Boston converted 22 of their 55 three-point attempts, while Milwaukee made only four of their 33 efforts from deep.
The Celtics, who have won a joint-record 17 NBA titles along with the Los Angeles Lakers, move on to their fourth conference finals appearance in the past six years, seeking their first title since 2008.
In Sunday’s other game-seven fixture, the Dallas Mavericks booked their place in the Western Conference finals with a 123-90 victory over hosts the Phoenix Suns.
Luka Doncic recorded 35 points and 10 rebounds, while Spencer Dinwiddie scored 30 points off the bench and Jalen Brunson added 24.
The top-seeded Suns were early favourites to win the 2022 NBA championship.
“I don’t know what to say but this was an amazing team win,” said Slovenia’s Doncic. “Everybody was locked in, everybody was playing as hard as they can. We didn’t take one play off.
“This is an incredible team win.”
Dallas will face the third-seeded Golden State Warriors in the conference finals. Game one is in San Francisco on Wednesday.