New York, NY – Despite facing elimination and giving up the first 11 points Wednesday night, the Celtics weren't fazed at Madison Square Garden.
Instead, the veteran leadership of Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett helped to pull the Celtics through to extend their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series for another night.
They're halfway to making history.
Garnett had 16 points and 18 rebounds, and the Celtics beat the New York Knicks, 92-86, in Game 5.
Terry went 5-of-9 from beyond the arc and ended with 17 points. Pierce finished with 16. Jeff Green hit a couple of big 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter and tallied 18 points, while Brandon Bass scored 17 for the Celtics.
Boston, which trails the best-of-seven set, 3-2, has a giant mountain to climb. No team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven NBA playoff series.
"It's definitely on us still," Boston coach Doc Rivers said of the pressure. "It's another Game 7 for us. That's the way we've been viewing it. It's still a ton of pressure on us. We have to be really good defensively. I thought tonight we were."
The Celtics, though, could look to another intense Boston-New York rivalry for inspiration. The Red Sox of 2004 made history by coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
J.R. Smith, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, struggled in his return to the New York lineup with 14 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Smith, who was suspended for Game 4 for throwing an elbow at Terry, said he would have been playing golf if he'd have played in the fourth contest because the Knicks would have swept the series. Instead, they'll make another trip to Boston for Game 6 Friday night.
"Nobody said it's going to be easy, but now it's a series," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
Carmelo Anthony went 8-of-24 from the field for 22 points, but missed all five of his 3-point shots, part of a 5-of-22 performance for the Knicks. They shot 39.5 percent overall.
"Offensively we were searching. Our defense was pretty solid. We have to find offense somewhere," Woodson said.
Smith missed his first 10 shots before sinking three 3-pointers late in the final quarter, the second of which got the hosts within 88-83 with 1:05 remaining.
Garnett, though, used a pump fake to get Tyson Chandler in the air and drained a shot from beyond the foul line with 48.3 seconds remaining to seal the outcome.
There was a tense moment at the end when Boston's Jordan Crawford and New York's Raymond Felton exchanged words near midcourt.
The seventh-seeded Celtics made half of their 22 3-point tries and drained all 17 of their free throws.
Anthony's driving dunk extended the Knicks to an 11-0 lead 4:13 into the game, but the Celtics didn't waver and closed within two later in the period and were within 22-20 after 12 minutes.
Anthony had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the opening quarter, but struggled to a 1-of-7 effort in the second.
Kenyon Martin picked up his third personal foul when he raked Garnett across the face while Garnett went up for a shot in the lane. Still, the Knicks went up as many as six at 32-26 later in the quarter.
Pierce's 3-pointer midway through the second pushed the Celtics ahead for the first time at 34-33, and Boston's lead expanded to 45-39 at the half thanks to Terry's step-back 3-pointer from the right corner in the closing minute.
Boston's largest lead of the third came in the final minute when Terry drained a left wing 3-ball for a 69-60 cushion going into the fourth.
"I kept telling them left it fly, don't hesitate," Rivers said of his team's 3-point shooting. "This is the first game we had complete trust and found the open guy."
The visiting bench exploded in jubilation when Green drove in for a 1-handed slam and a 75-60 lead with 9:05 remaining.
Green drained a pair of 3-balls within a span off less than a minute later in the fourth to create an 88-76 lead.
Only four times in major pro sports history has a team come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, most recently in 2010 when the Philadelphia Flyers downed the Boston Bruins. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders also did it in the NHL ... Garnett has 17-plus rebounds in the last three games ... Felton had 21 points and Iman Shumpert 12 for the Knicks, who also got 11 rebounds from Chandler ... The last time the Knicks won a playoff series was the Eastern Conference semifinals after the 1999-2000 season. They fell to the Indiana Pacers in the Conference Finals that year.