Celtics oust Cavaliers, head to Eastern Conference finals again

Al Horford had 22 points and 15 rebounds as the Boston Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by handing the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers a 113-98 loss in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Top-seeded Boston won the best-of-seven series 4-1. The Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the third consecutive season and for the sixth time in the past eight years.

Jayson Tatum added 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for Boston. The Celtics led by just three points early in the fourth quarter but extended the lead to 14, 101-87, on a Tatum 3-pointer with 6:45 to play. The Cavaliersdidn’t threaten after that.

A skeleton crew took the court for Cleveland, which played without star guard Donovan Mitchell (calf), center Jarrett Allen (rib) and guard Caris LeVert (knee).

The calf injury also caused Mitchell to miss Cleveland’s 109-102 loss in Game 4 on Monday night. Allen didn’t play in the series, and LeVert was coming off a 19-point performance in Game 4.

Evan Mobley had a game-high 33 points and seven rebounds for the fourth-seeded Cavaliers. He made 15 of his 24 field-goal attempts.

Cleveland received a season-high 25 points from Marcus Morris Sr.

It was 28-28 after one quarter. Cleveland used an 18-6 run to take a 46-40 lead in the second quarter, but Boston responded with a 13-2 spurt that put the Celtics in front 53-48. Boston had a 58-52 lead at halftime.

The Celtics had a 69-57 advantage with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter after a Horford 3-pointer capped an 11-0 run. Cleveland kept fighting back, however, and was within seven points, 85-78, at the end of three quarters.

Cleveland failed to score 100 points in eight of its 12 playoff games.

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