CELTICS 92 KNICKS 86 GAME 5 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
After an 11-0 start for the Knicks, the series looked all but wrapped up.
Not so fast.
The veteran led Celtics squad roared back in New York’s building in a surprising 92-86 victory to push the series to 3-2 and back to Boston for a Game 6.
The Celtics buckled down on the defensive side of the floor and found some offensive firepower from their bigs. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass combined for 21 points while Boston outscored the Knicks 45-28 following the double digit lead. The road squad in green built a six-point lead at the half and never looked back.
At two key points in the second half, New York had an opportunity to seize momentum in the contest and snatch the lead back. On a 15-11 run to start the third quarter, the Knicks trimmed the deficit to just two points following a nifty finish in the lane from Raymond Felton.
The poised Celtics never wavered and on the next possession, Jason Terry drilled a 3-pointer and Paul Pierce nailed a baseline jumper to extend the advantage back to 63-56.
In the fourth quarter, J.R. Smith finally connected on a deep shot and New York only trailed 88-83 with 1:05 left on the game clock. Boston's future hall of famer, Garnett utilized a pump fake on Tyson Chandler and sunk a 20-footer to create a seven-point gap. Boston’s big man delivered a crushing blow to the Knicks comeback bid in the midst of a top notch defensive performance.
Once again, Terry was a major factor with 17 points off the pine for the Celtics. Green added 18, Bass finished with 17, and Garnett hauled down 17 boards.
Smith’s return from the Game 4 absence was a game he would mostly likely forget. The sixth man struggled mightily from the floor, shooting 3-of-14 for 14 points in the loss.
Felton was the bright spot for New York with 21 points, Anthony scored a team-high 22, and Chandler grabbed 11 rebounds.
“We are good. We had two chances to close it out. One in Boston and one here tonight. Guys came in here and took it from us. Mentally we are in a great place. We understand we control our own destiny at this point. We have to see if we can close it out in Boston.” -- Carmelo Anthony
Knick of the Night:
Felton attacked the paint throughout the night, scored 21 points on 10-of-19 shooting, grabbed six boards, and dished out four assists in 44 minutes of court time.
The Knicks forced 17 turnovers but could not get signficant stops down the stretch to overtake the No. 7 seed. Meanwhile, Boston executed on the offensive end of the floor by draining 50 percent of its 3-point attempts and finishing 45.7 percent from the field. New York was ice cold from downtown – only 5-of-22 for the night.
New York will hold a practice session at MSG Training Center on Thursday afternoon before traveling back to Boston for another chance to eliminate the Celtics on Friday night.