Not Yet. Celtics Avoid Sweep in 97-90 Overtime Thriller

Jonah Ballow



How it happened:
With their backs firmly placed against the wall, the Celtics fought to the very end in a 97-90 overtime thriller on Sunday afternoon. Boston avoided the sweep and forced a Game 5 on Wednesday night in New York by topping the Knicks in dramatic fashion.

After the Knicks struggled through the first two quarters in Boston, the squad erupted in the third quarter by outscoring the home team 30-14. Raymond Felton was the offensive catalyst during the late stages of the third period as he scored 10 points and a crucial 3-pointer to trim the lead to just six points after New York faced its largest deficit of the series at 20 points.

Both teams were plagued by foul troubles but the Celtics big men were in sever danger in the third period. Brandon Bass had five, Kevin Garnett had four, and Jeff Green was saddled with four as well.

Moving to the final stanza, Boston managed to keep the Knicks within arm reach before Iman Shumpert snatched a steal and completed the layup to tie the game at 74-74 with 7:09 left on the game clock. Six minutes later, Felton rose to the occasion again by knocking down a midrange jumper to give New York its first lead of the contest, 84-82.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett worked a pick-and-pop, where Garnett received the pass and drained a jumper with 40 seconds on the clock. Carmelo Anthony missed two go-ahead jumpers, which led to a potential game-winner for the Celtics. Tyson Chandler defended a Pierce jumper perfectly to force the overtime session.

In the extra period, Jason Terry nailed a transition 3-pointer, handing a 91-88 advantage to Boston at the 1:29 mark. The Celtics sixth man hit another important bucket with 46 second remaining tp push the lead to three points again.

Anthony missed a 3-pointer as 20.4 seconds appeared on the game clock. New York could not execute down the stretch and the series will now return to New York.

For the first time all series, the Celtics built a double digit lead and seemed in complete control of Game 4. Anthony missed his first six attempts from the floor while shooting just 3-of-15 in the first half. The Knicks only connected on 28.9 percent of their shots and sorely missed the Sixth Man of the Year as a secondary weapon next to Anthony. J.R. Smith was suspended for Game 4 due to an elbow he hit Jason Terry with in a blowout Game 3 victory for New York.

The Knicks committed 13 turnovers in that first half of action, which led to a large, 19-point deficit at the break.

Anthony finished with a team-high 36 points in the loss but most of his production took place at the free throw line where he sunk 16-of-20 shots. Felton contributed in a big way by scoring 27 points at the shooting guard spot.

On the opposite side, Pierce delivered a vintage performance with 29 points despite cold shooting from the floor as well. Green added 26 points and Terry added 18.

Knick of the Night:
Felton scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half and overtime session. The Knicks guard shot 10-of-21 from the field and 4-of-9 behind the arc in 47 minutes of court time.

Statistically Speaking:
New York was able to get back into the contest by destroying Boston on the offense glass. The Knicks snatched 16 offensive rebounds and they registered 13 second chance points as opposed to two for the Celtics.

Looking Ahead:
New York will head back home and prepare for a pivotal Game 5 to see if they can eliminate the Celtics on their home floor on Wednesday night at the Garden.

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