Basketball

Celtics one win away from Conference Finals

The Boston Celtics continued their home-court mastery over Washington, taking charge early and going on to beat the Wizards 123-101 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to grab a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-final play-off series.

Avery Bradley tallied a post-season career-high 29 points in the blowout as Boston can now advance to meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in the next round with a victory in Washington tomorrow morning.

"Everyone was prepared," said Bradley. "And that's what it's all about."

The Celtics and Wizards have played nine times this year, and the home team have won all nine games.

Boston have now won eight straight overall at the Boston Garden over Washington.

The Celtics got on an early 16-0 run and never looked back. Their first quarter burst came after the Wizards scored the first four points of the game.

Bradley, who is playing with a sore hip, scored 25 points in the first half as the Celtics compiled a 22-point half-time lead.

"He put his injuries aside and laced his shoes up and played," teammate Isaiah Thomas said of Bradley. "He was the key to this game at both ends of the floor."

Bradley hit his last basket with 5:55 left in the third quarter and was rested in the fourth.

John Wall led the Wizards with 21 points, Bradley Beal had 16 and Otto Porter added 13. The Wizard guards combined to go just 14-of-36 from the floor, two-of-seven from three-point range.

"We had no answers for those guys," Washington coach Scott Brooks said.

"We've done a pretty good job on their best player, but not (a) good enough job on the other guys."

If the Celtics win tomorrow morning, they would open the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

If the Boston-Washington series goes to seven games, the winners meet the Cavaliers next Wednesday. - AFP