4 takeaways as Celtics crush Heat in Game 5 to clinch series win (2024)

4 takeaways as Celtics crush Heat in Game 5 to clinch series win (1)


  • Brian Robb | brobb@masslive.com

The Celtics became the first team to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Wednesday night, blowing out the Heat 118-85 in Game 5. Boston wins the first-round series 4-1 after their third straight victory and will face the winner of the Cavs-Magic series in the second round beginning next week.

Boston took command of the game in the first quarter after erupting for 41 points and an 18-point lead and did not look back.

The undermanned Heat failed to cut Boston’s lead below 19 points for the final three quarters as Boston was red-hot shooting from the field in one of their most efficient offensive performances of the year.

4 takeaways as Celtics crush Heat in Game 5 to clinch series win (2)

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Jaylen Brown led the way for Boston with 25 points while Derrick White also added 25 points. Jayson Tatum also chipped in with a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds), helping to make up for the absence of Kristaps Porzingis (calf) who is sidelined for at least another week.

Bam Adebayo had a team-high 23 points for the Heat in the loss as the visitors played without three starters (Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier, Jamie Jaquez Jr.) due to injury.

Boston will now have at least three days off before the start of their second round series next week.

Here are four takeaways from the Celtics’ Game 5 win on Wednesday night:

Derrick White continues his torrid stretch: The veteran guard continued to build off a career-best in Game 4 by dominating an undermanned Heat backcourt early. He scored a team-high 17 points in the first half, making six of his first seven shots and he punished Miami’s inability to keep him out of the paint. With Porzingis sidelined, more of the scoring onus will be falling to the hybrid guard and he looks ready to take a more aggressive mindset. With the Heat’s top defenders spending plenty of time on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, White took advantage early and often to help Boston build a sizable first half advantage.

Joe Mazzulla switches his rotation patterns with success: Some adjustment was likely expected in the wake of Porzingis’ injury but it was evident early that Boston was trying to step on Miami’s throat in this one. Jayson Tatum normally gets a rest midway through the first quarter but he played the first 20 minutes of the first half and sat for just a quick minute before returning. Tatum finished the first half with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds and also had a team-best plus/minus (+24) which has been the story of the series for Boston. The Celtics had plenty of incentive to wrap up this series early for extra rest and give Porzingis more time to heal.

Luke Kornet steps up in Porzingis absence: After spot duty for the last two games of the series, Kornet got the nod as Boston’s primary backup center in Game 5. He did not necessarily fill up the box score but acquitted himself quite nicely, particularly defensively against Bam Adebayo. Kornet registered a block and a couple of good contests against the big man who was Miami’s top-scoring option all night. More importantly, Kornet took some of the onus off Al Horford’s minutes while keeping the Celtics out in front, registered a plus-20 in the first half in just 10 minutes. The equation could change for Kornet based on matchups against Boston’s next opponent but he did nothing but strengthen his hold as Boston’s top big option off the bench with Porzingis out on Wednesday night.

A healthy rest awaits Boston: Miami did their best to muck things up against the Celtics over the past five games with a handful of controversial fouls that likely left the Celtics bruised and battered. However, Boston taking care of business in five games gives them a clear edge over the rest of the Eastern Conference who have all seen their matchups go at least six games. While other teams are battling in the coming days, Boston will have a minimum of three days off to rest up and potentially five days in total if the Cavs-Magic series goes a full seven games. In that scenario, Boston would host Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Tuesday night. Otherwise, they host the Cavs on Sunday afternoon.

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4 takeaways as Celtics crush Heat in Game 5 to clinch series win (2024)
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