Celtics advance to Eastern Conference finals

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BOSTON, May 16, (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.

“We had a great opportunity at home to handle this, and I knew it was going to take a lot more than handling it normally,” said Horford, who joined LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players 37 years or older to record a 20-point, 15-rebound, five-assist playoff game in NBA history. “It’s special. It’s hard to do. … This is another positive step of where we want to get to.”

Luka Doncic stopped worrying about calls and just played.
It worked. He scored 31 points in a triple-double, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-92 to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

Doncic didn’t voice his displeasure with the officials nearly as much as usual, though he had words with fans a few times.
“I’m just trying to play basketball, just focus on basketball,” he said. “Sometimes I forget this is the thing I love, the thing I do. My mental focus was just go out there and play basketball with a smile on my face and just go.”

Doncic, the league’s leading scorer in the regular season, had struggled some in the series against Oklahoma City. Playing through a sprained right knee and a sore left ankle, he had averaged just 22 points on 39% shooting through the first four games. He made 12 of 22 field goals in Game 5 and had 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his sixth career playoff triple-double.

“He was aggressive,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “He was making shots, taking shots. The deep 3, being able to get to the basket, playmaking for his bigs and also for the wings.”
Dallas regained the lead in the series after blowing a 14-point advantage and losing 100-96 at home in Game 4.
“We know the last game we played against them at home, we let it go,” Doncic said. “It was our mistakes and they hit shots.”

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