The Boston Celtics kept their playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night, defeating the New York Knicks, 92-86, in a sloppy yet entertaining Game 5.
Although no one player dominated for the Celtics, a collection of solid efforts helped them stave off elimination for at least one more game.
In total, five Boston players finished in double figures, as Kevin Garnett set the tone with 16 points, 18 rebounds and five assists. As a team, the Celtics hit on 50 percent of their three-point attempts, compared to the 22.7 percent the Knicks converted on.
Paul Pierce (16 points) and Jason Terry (17 points) accounted for nine of the Celtics' threes, while Jeff Green and Brandon Bass pitched in with 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Offensively, the Knicks were a mess. As a team, they shot 39.5 percent from the field, and through three quarters, J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony were a combined 6-of-25 from the field.
On the night, Anthony finished with a team-high 22 points on 8-of-24 shooting.
The Celtics got off to a start that can only be described as sluggish. As the Knicks jumped out to an early 11-0 lead, the Celtics were ice-cold from the field; it took Doc Rivers' bunch four minutes and 28 seconds to register their its points.
However, despite shooting 33.3 percent from the field in the first quarter, the Celtics found themselves down just two after one thanks to the play of Bass (nine points on 3-of-3 shooting).
Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the Knicks was Anthony's play in the early going. Anthony, who needed 35 shots to score 36 points in Game 4, was an efficient 5-of-7 from the field to start the game, scoring 12 points in that span.
Unfortunately, the Knicks' half-court offense sputtered throughout the second quarter (and beyond), turning to isolations more often than not to create. That plan of attack failed, and Anthony finished the second quarter shooting 6-of-14 from the field.
Led by Garnett's resiliency, the Celtics were able to weather a brutal start, finding their footing in the second quarter. Boston outscored New York by eight in the second, with Garnett approaching a double-double (10 points and nine rebounds) at halftime.
Coming off of a one-game suspension, Smith was looking to make up for lost time, but was unsuccessful in doing so.
The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year attempted five shots in the first half, but didn't hit on a single one, totaling three points after a couple of trips to the free-throw line. Smith finished the night with 14 points on 3-of-14 shooting.
After the game, frustrations spilled over into a brief altercation that settled down before too much damage was done. Something tells you it won't be the last time we see some words (or worse) exchanged in this series.
Up next is Game 6, which tips off on Friday night back in Boston. This series just got interesting.
What more is there to say about a guy who attempts two threes and then passes up a wide-open layup?
Anthony was looking to pass in the early going, but that didn't last long. He finished with just two assists.
Bass was the only thing working for the Celtics offensively in the first quarter.
Pierce was 0-of-6 in the first quarter, failing to score a single point in the game's opening period.
Avery Bradley has been a virtual non-factor in the Celtics' first-round series. He finished with four points (2-of-6 shooting) and zero assists on Wednesday night.
Pierce awoke in the second quarter, and swung the momentum a bit in favor of the Celtics.
Smith claimed the Knicks would have been playing golf on Wednesday had he been available for Game 4.
Bass picked up his third foul in the second quarter, which was the team's biggest cause for concern at that point in time.
When Raymond Felton was initiating sets, the Knicks' offense flowed beautifully.
However, the Knicks couldn't get much going aside from that.
Jordan Crawford didn't play one minute in Game 5, but made his presence known after the game, talking some trash to the league's scoring champion.