NBA: Boston Celtics beat Cleveland Cavaliers to reach Eastern Conference final

The Boston Celtics have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in a row, and this time, there will definitely be more challenges ahead.

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Wednesday’s 113-98 victory put an end to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ five-game series for the team with the best regular season record in the NBA. They will move on to the NBA Finals, where they will play the Indiana Pacers or the New York Knicks.

In the East, where the Celtics have made it to the conference finals six times in the last eight years, it’s a common sight. They haven’t gotten their first title in that time, of course.

Celtics defeated the tenacious but shorthanded Cavaliers squad.

With All-Star center Jarrett Allen, veteran Caris LeVert, and guard Donovan Mitchell out of Game 5, the Cavaliers were in a terrible predicament going into Wednesday’s action. The Celtics have already defeated the Miami Heat without Jimmy Butler in the first round of the playoffs, so it wasn’t their first encounter with a weak opponent.

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It goes without saying that the Celtics have no excuse for beating injured teams. With Kristaps Porzingis still out due to a calf issue, the Celtics are also shorthanded. When assessing the Celtics’ prospects in the upcoming round, it is imperative to keep this tendency in mind.

With the margin lingering in the low single digits until the early stages of the fourth quarter, the surviving Cleveland players did a commendable job of remaining competitive in hostile territory. Boston had a difficult game, but they eventually got things together and took a 13-2 lead to put the victory beyond doubt.

With 25 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, Jayson Tatum had again another fantastic performance; but, Al Horford’s introduction, beginning with Porzingis’ absence, may have made the most impact. In 35 minutes, the eldest player on the court finished with 22 points on 8 of 15 shots, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Cavaliers eliminated by the Celtics 113-98

According to The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, Horford became the first player at 37 years old or older to have at least 20 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists in a playoff game, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James.

The Cavaliers relied on the youthful Evan Mobley, who scored 31 points on 14 of 23 shooting, pulled down seven boards, and disheveled four assists, in Mitchell’s absence. Another big player was Marcus Morris, who was signed essentially for free in the middle of the season. He scored 25 points off the bench on 10 of 13 shots.

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