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Sports

April 29, 2013

Celts top Knicks 97-90 in OT, avoid playoff sweep

BOSTON — Jason Terry’s nose still hurt. He wasn’t about to let his pride suffer as well.

Two days after being smacked by J.R. Smith’s elbow, the guard the Boston Celtics count on for his shooting scored their last nine points and kept their season going.

The Celtics beat the Knicks 97-90 in overtime yesterday to avoid a first-round sweep and force a fifth game in New York on Wednesday night. Avoiding elimination provided all the motivation Terry needed.

“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.”

But, he conceded, his nose “still hurts right now. As long as I feel that, I guess I’ll be thinking about it.”

The NBA suspended Smith for the game, and the Knicks could have used his shooting. Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points and Raymond Felton picked up the slack with 27, but New York made just 28.9 percent of its shots in the first half as Boston took a 54-35 lead.

“J.R. is a big piece of what we do, but he wasn’t here,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said, “so I’m not using that as an excuse.”

New York had tied the game 84-84 after trailing by 20 points early in the third quarter. It was 88-all before the Celtics regained control and took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Terry. Anthony hit a short jumper, but Terry connected on a 15-footer with 50 seconds remaining for a 93-90 lead.

After Anthony, who shot 10 for 35 for the game, missed a 3-pointer with 21 seconds to go, Terry was fouled by Steve Novak and made both free throws. He added a layup to close out the game.

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