Friday, May 3, 2024

Celtics 118, Heat 84: C's advance to Eastern Conference Semi-finals in Game 5 blowout [BOS wins series, 4-1]

The Celtics took care of business without Kristaps Porzingis Wednesday night at TD Garden in a 118-84 Game 5 blowout over the Miami Heat to secure a 4-1 best-of-7 series victory.

Boston finished with five players scoring in double figures for the game. The charge was led yet again by Derrick White, who had 15 points in the first quarter, before ending up with 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists on 8-of-13 shooting including 5-of-10 from three in just 29 minutes of action Jaylen Brown also recorded 25 points and six rebounds in just 26 minutes on 11-of-19 shooting from the field.
"I'm at my best when I'm having fun out there," White said in his postgame presser. "Just out there having fun and messing around, but also realizing this is a big moment and we're all locked in too."
Sam Hauser went 5-of-8 from 3-point territory for 17 points off the bench and Jayson Tatum recorded 16 points, 12 rebounds for the C's in an impressive win.

Not much was going right for the Heat on offense, as Tyler Herro -- who is an essential piece for Miami given all of their injuries -- struggled to get anything going. Herro had 15 points on just 6-of-15 shooting and 1-of-8 from behind the arc. Bam Adebayo was the only one that carried Miami's offense in the first 24 minutes with 21 points before halftime, but struggled in the third period and finished the game with 23 points, six assists, and five rebounds on 10-of-26 shooting. 

Luke Kornet, who missed the first two games of the series with right calf tightness for the C's, really bothered Adebayo with his length and size. Kornet (two points, seven rebounds and a block) has proven to be a capable backup all season long and he will be needed as the Celtics prepare for an extended absence for Porzingis.

Boston was ahead 21-16 halfway through the opening quarter in what was initially a tight start before they closed out the first frame on a 20-7 run and didn't look back -- leading by as much as 37. Another key factor was the disparity on the glass, as Celtics had a whopping 56-29 rebounding advantage, with the Heat recording only two offensive rebounds. 

It was a breath of fresh air for the Celtics, who have failed to close out a playoff series at home in recent years. The C's are trying to prove that this season is different, however, and that does not change with or without Porzingis.
"The more you're around each other, the more you have conversations on how you want to do things," head coach Joe Mazzulla said when talking about the team's trust this year. "You gotta develop that sense of trust. But I think it starts with the guys -- the trust they have in each other, the way they communicate."
The Celtics will take on the winner of the series match-up between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers. Whoever it is, Boston will be ready for them, according to Mazzulla.
"Each team presents a different level of challenge -- for us, we have to still be open-minded to go to different stuff...every team is better than us at something, and we're better than them at something," Mazzulla said.
Cleveland currently leads that series 3-2 over the Magic with Game 6 scheduled for Friday night in Orlando.

Game Notes:

Boston hit 54.5% from the field, including 16-of-40 from (40%) 3-point range, while the Heat were 41.4% from the floor and only 3-of-29 (10.3%) from 3. The Celtics dished out 23 assists on 42 baskets and Miami had 20 dimes on 36 made shots.

Eli Weisberger

Photo used courtesy of USA Today

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