Celtics Keep Hopes Alive in Game Five
NEW YORK – Back in the series, now back to Boston.
The Celtics, winners of the most NBA championships, are two victories from making more history.
Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 18 rebounds and the Celtics stayed alive in the NBA playoffs, cutting the New York Knicks’ lead to 3-2 with a 92-86 victory Wednesday night.
The Celtics will host Game 6 on Friday night, needing two victories to become the first NBA team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
“We just wanted to keep it going,” Brandon Bass said.
Bass added 17 points, steadying Boston as it shook off an 11-0 deficit and pulled away in the second half to stop the Knicks again from achieving their first playoff series victory since 2000.
“We didn’t panic and that’s something we’ve done, but we didn’t,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought once the game got back to that five, six area, our guys were good again.”
J.R. Smith, back from his one-game suspension for elbowing Jason Terry with the Knicks way ahead late in Game 3, missed his first 10 shots and finished 3 of 14 for 14 points.
Terry also scored 17 off the bench.
Jeff Green scored 18 points and Paul Pierce had 16 as he and Garnett, the two franchise stalwarts, extended this season – and perhaps their Celtics careers – at least one more game.
Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but was just 8 of 24 in another dismal shooting night for the Knicks, who blew a big lead in this game and now the series. They face an unwanted trip back to Boston instead of the rest this aging roster could surely use before the second round.
If they get there.
“I think we’re fine,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “Sure we would’ve loved to close it out and move on, but nobody said it would be easy.”
The Celtics were the first of the eight NBA teams that have come from 3-1 down, beating Philadelphia in 1968, and put themselves on the short list of teams that have erased a 2-0 deficit the next year in the NBA Finals.
So perhaps it would be fitting if they were the first to overcome 3-0.
“I think so. I mean, I think that would be wonderful, and someone’s going to do it and I want it to be us, obviously, since that’s the situation we’re in,” Rivers said before the game. “Someone will do it, and I really want to be a part of that.”
He’s still got a chance.
Pacers 106, Hawks 83
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – David West scored 24 points and Paul George had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Indiana past Atlanta and giving the Pacers a 3-2 series lead.
The Pacers have all won three home games in the best-of-seven series and are 5-0 at home this season against the Hawks. They’ll go to Atlanta on Friday with a chance to clinch the best-of-seven series. But the Hawks have won 13 straight at home against the Pacers, including both games in this series.
Atlanta was led by Josh Smith and Al Horford, who each had 14 points. And it was every bit as ugly as the Hawks’ first two double-digit losses in Indy.
Indiana took the lead for good midway through the second quarter and opened the third period on a 12-3 run to make it 62-46. The Pacers put it away when the Hawks lost their composure.
On an ugly night that included 18 fouls during a 57-minute third quarter, three technical fouls for defensive three-second violations, three more technical on Hawks players – Smith, Jeff Teague and Ivan Johnson – and yet another on Pacers coach Frank Vogel, everything was exhilarating for an Indiana team that reverted to its old style.
Indiana was the more physical team all night, outrebounding Atlanta 15-5 in the first quarter, 26-13 in the first half and 51-28 for the game. The Pacers outscored the Hawks 36-28 in the paint.
West, who had been struggling, led the charge by scoring 10 of 11 points during a key second-quarter stretch. George was nearly flawless, making 7 of 8 shots and finishing with 10 rebounds and five assists.
And for the first time in the series, Atlanta shot under 50 percent from the field. The Hawks were just 25 of 75 for 33.3 percent.