Boston moves on to East semifinals | Arkansas Democrat Gazette

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BOSTON — If this playoff run is about redemption for the Boston Celtics, it had to start with exacting some revenge against the Miami Heat.

A year ago, Miami embarrassed Boston in a Game 7 showdown at TD Garden.

This time, the Celtics returned the favor.

Jaylen Brown and Derrick White each scored 25 points and the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, beating the short-handed Heat 118-84 in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Boston will face the winner of the Cleveland-Orlando series. The Cavaliers lead 3-2, with Game 6 in Orlando on Friday night.

Brown said they went into the game with a business-like approach.

“It is a lot of history, back and forth. But it didn’t matter who it was,” Brown said. “We just had to get the job done.”

That was echoed by teammate Jayson Tatum.

“I think this is my fourth time playing them in playoffs,” Tatum said. “They all count the same. … We did our job. We took care of business.”

Brown also had six assists, and White hit five three-pointers. Sam Hauser added 17 points and Tatum had 16 points and 12 rebounds. The top-seeded Celtics never trailed and led by as many as 35 points.

Bam Adebayo scored 23 points and Tyler Herro had 15 for Miami, which made its first exit from the playoffs prior to the conference finals since 2021. The Heat struggled throughout, going 3 of 29 from three-point range.

Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said it was clear early that the Celtics were playing with some extra energy from the opening tap.

“They probably had something to motivate them even more against us,” he said.

Despite the lopsided loss and the way their season ended, Adebayo said he is taking lessons into the offseason.

“We’ve gained a lot of mental toughness,” he said. “Going through that as a captain, it helped me understand that the ship’s going to get rocky sometimes.”

Boston played for the first time this postseason without center Kristaps Porzingis after he strained his right calf in the Celtics’ Game 4 victory. His teammates filled in the gaps, as the Celtics’ lead reached 30 points in the first half.

Boston exploited a Heat team that was the most injured it’d been in the series. Jaime Jaquez Jr. sat out after suffering a hip injury in Game 4. He was replaced in the lineup by Delon Wright, marking the 37th starting five the Heat used this season. Jaquez joined Jimmy Butler (knee) and Terry Rozier (neck), who had both been sidelined since the start of the series.

It made for unique rotations for Miami, which included veteran Patty Mills logging minutes for just the third time in the series.

Boston seized on the vulnerabilities in the Heat’s defense, spreading them out and knocking down eight three-pointers in the opening period. It helped the Celtics carry an 18-point lead into the second quarter.

The highlight of the opening 12 minutes came courtesy of White, who pulverized Miami from long distance with eight three-pointers in Game 4. He stayed on the attack early Wednesday, faking a three-point attempt and then driving in for an uncontested one-handed dunk.

White played to the home crowd afterward, holding his hand in front of his face as he backpedaled up the court. After the Heat called a timeout, a courtside fan near the Celtics’ bench could be seen pantomiming fanning White on the sideline.

“I think that’s when I’m at my best, when I’m having fun out there,” White said. “But at the same time realizing this is a best moment and we’re all locked into it.”

    Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) grabs a long pass against Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin, left, during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) drives past Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) battles Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin for the ball during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
  photo  Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) tosses up a shot after driving past Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) sets to drive against Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
  photo  Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra watches his players during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots over Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, center, drives to the basket against Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) and guard Tyler Herro during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
  photo  Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) tries to shoot over Boston Celtics center Luke Kornet (40) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
 
 
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