Tatum leads Celtics past Cavaliers and into 3rd consecutive East finals

By Kyle Hightower

AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) — Al Horford wanted to savor the moment.

With play stopped and the Celtics’ victory no longer in doubt, Horford turned in the direction of the sideline, walked a few paces, stopped and extended his hands overhead, bringing an already raucous TD Garden crowd to its feet in applause.

The task was done.

Jayson Tatum had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Boston beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-98 on Wednesday night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the third straight season.

Horford added 22 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and six of Boston’s 19 3-pointers to help the Celtics post their third consecutive win and wrap up the series in five games.

The Celtics will now await the winner of the matchup between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. New York leads that series 3-2.

The Cavaliers played extremely short-handed without All-Star Donovan Mitchell (calf), center Jarrett Allen (rib) and key reserve Caris LeVert (knee).

Cleveland stayed close through the first three quarters and pulled within 88-85 early in the fourth. Boston then went on a 13-2 run to take a 101-87 lead with 6:44 to play.

Evan Mobley scored a playoff career-high 33 points and had seven rebounds. Marcus Morris Sr. had five 3-pointers and finished with 25 points.


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