Celtics fend off Cavs, return to Eastern Conference final

Even before Donovan Mitchell's absence from Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series on Wednesday night,  

the Celtics were heavy favorites to defeat the Cavaliers. Mitchell was one of three starting guards for Cleveland.  

Nevertheless, regardless of that, Boston was down a single possession early in the fourth quarter,   

facing the prospect of a devastating home playoff loss—a situation that has become all too often in recent years.  

Thanks to a strong showing from the team's senior player, Al Horford, and a strong performance by rookie point guard Jayson Tatum (25 points, 10 boards,  

and 9 assists), the Bruins were able to pull off an upset and advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the third year in a row and the sixth time in the last eight.  

Final games are often challenging. "Whatever it takes," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla remarked,  

describing the amount of tension, worry, and desperation on the team. At least 48 games are required, and ideally more.  


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