NBA: Rozier and Horford help Celtics oust Bucks from play-offs, Thompson paces Warriors in semis

(From left) Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics celebrating after winning their NBA playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, on April 28, 2018.
(From left) Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics celebrating after winning their NBA playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, on April 28, 2018.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

LOS ANGELES (AFP, REUTERS) - Terry Rozier and Al Horford scored 26 points each, as the Boston Celtics routed the Milwaukee Bucks 112-96 in game seven to book their spot in the second round of the NBA play-offs.

In the other game, Klay Thompson scored 11 of his game-high 27 points in a 25-2 second-quarter flurry that propelled holders Golden State Warriors to a great start in the Western Conference semi-finals, with a 123-101 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 1 in Oakland, California.

The Celtics' victory in Saturday's (April 28) deciding game was their fourth win at the Boston Garden as the home teams won all seven games in the Eastern Conference first-round series.

"We got it done that is the most important thing," said Rozier. "Before this series everybody doubted us. But we believed in each other and it worked out for us."

The storied Celtics franchise is now 36-0 lifetime when leading a playoff series 2-0, and they will try to make it 37 straight when they face the Philadelphia 76ers in the next round. Game one is Monday in Boston.

"We got to pay attention to details and take away what they want to do," Rozier said of the next round.

Jayson Tatum tallied 20 points for the Celtics in the win.

The loss means the elimination of Giannis Antetokounmpo from the play-offs. Antetokounmpo, whose blend of size and athleticism has earned him the nickname the "Greek Freak", finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Khris Middleton scored 32 and Eric Bledsoe chipped 23 in the loss.

Boston led 50-42 at the half despite going one-for-12 from beyond the arc.

Horford had 14 points and seven rebounds at halftime, while Bledsoe paced the Milwaukee attack with 12 points.

The Bucks narrowed the Boston lead to three points early in the third, but Boston scored 11 of the last 15 points in the quarter to seize command.

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 offence, we don't need to work to get him involved," Warriors centre Draymond Green told TNT.

The sixth-seeded Pelicans, coming off a four-game sweep over Portland in the first round, shot 60 per cent in the first quarter and led by as many as five points before the Warriors ran off in a dominant second-quarter performance.