Celts avoid playoff sweep
Updated: 2013-04-30 09:01
Terry sparks Boston to overtime victory and keeps slim hopes alive
The reeling Boston Celtics needed a spark of optimism and a surge of offense to keep their season going.
Jason Terry provided both.
The energetic guard who had struggled in the first three games cheered his teammates up when the Knicks were rallying, then scored the Celtics' last nine points in a 97-90 overtime win on Sunday over the New York Knicks that avoided a four-game sweep.
"He's just one of those guys you want around your team, whether he's playing or not," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "He brings sunshine."
Boston Celtics Paul Pierce (center) competes for the ball with New York Knicks Jason Kidd (left) and Kenyon Martin during the Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference first-roud playoff series in Boston, Massachusetts, on Sunday. The Celtics won 97-90 to avoid first round sweep. Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters
And when he's playing well, he's hitting jumpers, even in the most critical situations.
"As long as there's time on the clock, as long as there is another game, it's an opportunity to do something special," Terry said.
That opportunity was slipping away when the Knicks overcame a 59-39 deficit early in the third quarter and took an 84-82 lead on Raymond Felton's jumper with 1:18 left in regulation. But Kevin Garnett hit a 16-footer jumper to tie the game 11 seconds later.
In overtime, Terry gave the Celtics the lead for good, 91-88, with a 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining.
Now he has another opportunity in New York in Game 5 on Wednesday night as the Celtics work toward becoming the first team in NBA history to win a series after trailing 3-0.
"We have to come out with the exact same aggression," Jeff Green said. "We just have to play every possession, every defensive possession, like it's our last."
But the Knicks still have a big advantage as they try for their first playoff series win in 13 years. All they need is one win out of a possible three games.
"We didn't shoot the ball well today at all and we still put ourselves in a position to win," said Carmelo Anthony, who led all scorers with 36 points but missed 25 of his 35 shots. "We're going back home with a lot of confidence."
Especially with J.R. Smith returning.
The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year was suspended for Sunday's game after hitting Terry with his elbow in New York's 90-76 win on Friday night. He scored 49 points in the first three games.
"We didn't make the plays coming down the home stretch. They did," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "J.R. is a big piece of what we do, but he wasn't here ... so I'm not using that as an excuse."
Terry was angry after being hit in the face by Smith, but something more important motivated him.
"It wasn't really the elbow," he said. "It was more (like) this is it. I mean, the season's over. You can leave it all out here tonight and go home for a long summer or you can live to play another day."