(PhatzRadio / AP) — NEW YORK, N.Y. – Back in the series, now back to Boston.
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’re still down. Our mentality has to be all-out,” Garnett said. “It can’t be anything (else).”
Brandon 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.”
Terry also scored 17 off the bench.
“Obviously being down 2-0 or 3-0 or whatever it was, we could have folded shop. Nobody in here is going to quit,” Terry said.
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 Knicks would host Game 7 on Sunday.
“I told you from Game 1 that this wasn’t going to be a breeze, it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, them guys were going to fight and they’re showing some fight right now,” Anthony said. “They threw a couple punches at us now and it’s time for us to do the same.”
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.
The Knicks limited the Celtics to 75 points per game while winning the first three, and nearly came back to win Game 4 on Sunday even without Smith. So they felt good even after missing their first chance to wrap it up, when Anthony was 10 of 35 in an overtime loss.
Point guard Raymond Felton said the Knicks still feel in control of the series “for sure.”
“I mean, this is what playoff basketball is about. Yes, we wish we could have swept them, yes we wish we could have won that game tonight. Sometimes things don’t happen that way,” he added. “Things aren’t always pretty, things aren’t always the way you want them to be. We’ve just got to grind it out and go get a win.”
Though few of these players were here for the streak, the Knicks were perhaps a bit overconfident leading into the game for a franchise that lost an NBA-record 13 straight post-season games from 2001-12.
Smith said Tuesday he’d have been playing golf instead of practicing had he played in Game 4, and players wore black to the game Wednesday as if they were heading to the Celtics’ “funeral.”
The Celtics didn’t like it, with reserve Jordan Crawford exchanging words with Anthony and Raymond Felton after the final buzzer.
Forget the funeral. The Celtics are still very much alive.
“Well, we was going to a funeral, but it looks like we got buried,” Smith said. “Basketball is a very humbling game.”
Smith finally made a 3-pointer to end his drought, and then another cut what had been a 15-point Boston lead to 88-83 with 1:05 remaining. But Garnett made a jumper, then knocked down two free throws to clinch it.
The Knicks were just 5 of 22 from 3-point range, which looked worse until Smith hit three late ones.
Rockets past Thunder 107-100 in Game 5
(PhatzRadio / AP) — OKLAHOMA CITY – James Harden lacked the energy to get through a morning shoot-around. Then he found the strength to fill the Houston Rockets with life in a playoff series that had started to look hopeless.
Harden scored 31 points and sank seven 3-pointers while fighting flu-like symptoms, and the Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-100 Wednesday night to pull within 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.
Harden made the first seven 3s he tried and Houston led by as many as 16 to win its second straight, getting halfway to becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome an 0-3 series deficit.
“I just tried to go out there and give it all I had,” said Harden, adding that he slept all day. “It was a win or go home, so I got some shots to fall and I just tried to not think about it.”
The Rockets played without starting point guard Jeremy Lin for the second straight game because of a bruised chest muscle. Key reserve Carlos Delfino didn’t play in the second half because of a sore left foot.
They still had plenty of offence, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds from Omer Asik and 18 points and five 3-pointers from Francisco Garcia. Patrick Beverley scored 14 and Aaron Brooks and Chandler Parsons chipped in 10 apiece.
“We just came out here and played pressure-free. Go out there and just hoop, that was our mindset going into the game,” Harden said. “The same thing back at home: just go out there and hoop. We’re an eighth seed. Nobody’s expecting us to win. So just give it what we’ve got. Simple.”
Oklahoma City eliminated half of Houston’s big lead before managing to stymie its own comeback.
Apparently doubting they could overcome an eight-point lead on their home court without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, the Thunder resorted to intentionally fouling Asik — a 54 per cent career foul shooter — with 5:33 to play. Asik went 8 for 12 from the line, extending Houston’s lead to 101-92 with 3:53 remaining before Oklahoma City gave up the tactic.
Kevin Durant scored 36 points for Oklahoma City, which must now travel to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night. Durant was scoreless in the fourth quarter, missing all five of his shots, and picked up a technical foul with 22.5 seconds left for complaining to referee Bill Spooner.
“We was on our way back and then also the Hack-a-whatever-his-name-is,” Durant said, forgetting Asik’s name, “it kind of slowed the rhythm down a little bit.”
Coach Scott Brooks said he was about to stop ordering the fouls against Asik if his team had made a shot on one particular possession. It didn’t happen and the 7-footer from Turkey made him pay.
“Give him credit. He stepped up and made shots and made his free throws,” Brooks said. “That’s a strategy we don’t use often.”
Asik missed three of his first six free throws, and the Thunder continued fouling him intentionally even after getting within 98-92 with 4:12 remaining. Asik hit three of his next four and then blocked a shot by Thabo Sefolosha as Houston started extending its lead again.
Reggie Jackson contributed 20 points for the Thunder, who leaned heavily on Durant for a third straight game with Westbrook out for the playoffs with a right knee injury. Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City’s sixth man who was acquired in a preseason trade for Harden, missed his first nine shots before making a jumper in the fourth quarter to finish with three points.
“They miss him everywhere. How would you not? He’s one of the top players in the league,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “They probably miss him in the locker room, miss him in shoot-around, miss him on the bus, miss him on the plane, miss him on offence, miss him on defence. Did I miss anything?”
The Rockets made a series-high 14 3-pointers on 35 attempts, making up for getting outscored in the paint, in second-chance points and on the fast break. Oklahoma City made just 8 of 33 from 3-point range, missing 14 of its first 15 attempts.
Pacers 106, Hawks 83
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — David West scored 24 points and Paul George had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Indiana to 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.