Wednesday’s NBA playoffs takeaways: Celtics stomp Heat to advance to second round

By Jared Weiss, Jay King and William Guillory

The Boston Celtics took care of business in dominant fashion, crushing the Miami Heat 118-84 to vanquish their playoff nemesis in five games and advance to the second round.

Derrick White continued his scorching play from Game 4 to tally 25 points, which matched teammate Jaylen Brown’s game-high total. Jayson Tatum chipped in a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Boston will play the winner of the series between the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Celtics 118, Heat 84

Series: 4-1

Celtics find success in first game without Kristaps Porziņģis

The Celtics cruised past Miami with ease to win the series in five games, so there wasn’t a clear indication about how the big man rotation will work in the second round with Kristaps Porziņģis likely missing time.

“I’m not sure,” Mazzulla said when asked for a timetable. “We’re just gonna give it a week, kind of see where he’s at, kind of see how he responds to the treatment over the next week.”

Al Horford only had to play 23 minutes while Luke Kornet played for 18, but Horford never had to come back in for the fourth quarter. Will the Celtics play Kornet deep into the fourth quarter in the next round so Horford can come in for a shorter crunch time stint? Will they mix in some Xavier Tillman to ease the minutes burden on Horford?

Jarrett Allen missed Game 5 for Cleveland with a rib injury, so his absence would affect Boston’s reliance on a center throughout the game if Cleveland advances. Orlando has size and power across the board, so will Boston use Tillman instead of Kornet? The Celtics showed in this series against Miami that they can respond well to adversity. But their next opponent will have a clear advantage in the front court and will likely give the Celtics a more serious test. — Jared Weiss, Celtics beat writer

Celtics showed much-needed urgency

In recent years, the Celtics have played long series almost exclusively. Not in the first round. They showed urgency in Game 5 to take care of business, eliminate Miami and give themselves an extra couple days of rest. Boston took away any suspense in the first half while building a 30-point lead, then never let Miami get close in the second half. In the deciding game of the series, Tatum only needed to play 32 minutes and Brown only needed to play 26. The Celtics closed the game with a bench lineup of Svi Mykhailiuk, Oshae Brissett, Tillman, Jaden Springer and Payton Pritchard.

Against an 8-seed missing three starters in Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Jaime Jaquez Jr., the Celtics did what they were supposed to do. After dropping Game 2 of the series, they lifted their intensity and shut down the Heat offense over the next three games. Miami only made three 3-pointers in Game 5 while failing to produce any type of consistent scoring. The Celtics will face stiffer competition in the later rounds. For at least the start of the second round, they will be without Porziņģis. But they were dominant without him throughout the regular season and again looked great without him in Game 5. By capitalizing on their first chance to close out the series, they made their playoff path a bit easier and kept additional miles off their legs. — Jay King, Celtics beat writer

Thursday’s schedule:

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(Photo: Brian Babineau / NBAE via Getty Images)

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