Celtics puts Cavs to bed, advance to Eastern Conference finals

League: NBA

Posted on: 16 May, 2024 at 03:42 AM

Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are in a familiar place.

The Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the third straight year -- and the sixth time in the past eight seasons -- by dispatching the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 113-98 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night.

Top-seeded Boston won the best-of-seven series 4-1 and will face either the Indiana Pacers or the New York Knicks for the Eastern Conference title. Second-seeded New York leads sixth-seeded Indiana 3-2 in a series that will continue with Game 6 on Friday night in Indianapolis.

"It's a blessing, honestly, to be a part of winning," Boston's Jaylen Brown said. "It's been a great journey so far, but we're not done yet. We just have to keep going."

Al Horford had 22 points and 15 rebounds during the Wednesday victory.

"(Horford) made shots, and he's a winner," Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "I can't say enough about the way he played tonight. Just watching him chase down loose balls and make extra-effort plays. He understood the moment and has the ability on both ends of the floor to impact winning at a high level with little things -- knowing who he is. Understanding his role."

Jayson Tatum added 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for Boston. The Celtics led by three points early in the fourth quarter but extended the gap to 101-87 on a Tatum 3-pointer with 6:45 to play. The Cavaliers didn't threaten after that.

The Celtics have a 7-0 record in the playoffs this season when their opponent fails to score 100 points.

"I thought tonight the Cavs brought the best out of us, especially in the second half," Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. "We showed what we can be when we really put our minds to it and when we play at a different level.

"I thought Al was inspirational. And I thought they tested our trust. They tested our trust in each other, they tested our physicality, they tested our toughness and I thought the guys responded."

It was a skeleton crew that took the court for Cleveland, which played without guard Donovan Mitchell (calf strain), center Jarrett Allen (bruised rib) and guard Caris LeVert (knee bone bruise).

The calf injury also caused Mitchell to miss Cleveland's 109-102 loss in Game 4 on Monday night. Allen didn't play in the series, and LeVert was coming off a 19-point performance in Game 4.

Evan Mobley had a game-high 33 points and seven rebounds for the fourth-seeded Cavaliers. He made 15 of his 24 field-goal attempts.

Cleveland received a season-high 25 points from Marcus Morris Sr., who made 5 of 6 3-point attempts.

--Field Level Media