National Basketball Association
Celtics thump shorthanded Heat 118-84, advance to Eastern Conference Semifinals
National Basketball Association

Celtics thump shorthanded Heat 118-84, advance to Eastern Conference Semifinals

Published May. 1, 2024 10:20 p.m. ET

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

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

Brown also had six assists, and White hit five 3-pointers. Sam Hauser added 17 points and Jayson Tatum had 16 points and 12 rebounds, The top-seeded Celtics never trailed and led by 35 points. They also got a measure of revenge a year after the Heat routed them in Game 7 of the conference finals in Boston.

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 3-point range.


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.

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Boston seized on the vulnerabilities in the Heat's defense, spreading them out and knocking down eight 3-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 3s in Game 4. He stayed on the attack early Wednesday, faking a 3-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.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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Jaylen Brown
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