The Boston Celtics crushed the Miami Heat 118-84 in Game 5 Wednesday night to secure the 4-1 series win in the first round. Boston will play the winner of the series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinal.

Following an unexpected Heat win in Game 2, some worried that the first-seeded Celtics would begin yet another postseason on the wrong foot after disappointments in prior years. Without star Jimmy Butler, the Heat was not expected to be in serious contention with Boston, let alone even the series. However, the underdog team’s hopes were short-lived as the Celtics went on to win the next three games and advance with time to spare.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who has been with Boston for several postseason series against Miami, admitted that he wanted to play against the familiar foe going into the playoffs. The Heat eliminated the Celtics in a massive upset in the Eastern Conference Final last year.

“I think it’s like my fourth time in five years playing them in the playoffs,” Tatum said. “So, I was thinking when the Play-In game was on, and you’re trying to figure out the standings, I just had my mind made up completely that we were gonna play Miami. And ​​I wanted to play Miami in a sense that, last year playing against Atlanta, we might’ve relaxed a little bit. But knowing the history with Miami, and how hard they play and how well-coached they are, that, for a first-round matchup, regardless of the seed, that we were gonna have to be ready to play and be ready to fight.”

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Tatum scored 21.8 points per game with 10.4 rebounds throughout five games against Miami, contributing to several key victories allowing the team to rest before the second round. Small forward Jaylen Brown was also consistently strong throughout the series, while role player Derrick White scored 63 combined points in the final two games.

Regardless of whether the Cavaliers or Magic move on to play them in the second round, the Celtics will also be a massive favorite in that series. They are widely expected to breeze through the entire Eastern Conference, though they have yet to deliver on similar expectations in past years.

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