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Sports

April 29, 2013

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

(Continued)

But the Celtics still have a huge deficit in trying to become the first team to win after trailing a series 3-0 in the NBA playoffs. The Knicks are trying to win their first playoff series in 13 years.

“We have to be confident going back home,” Anthony said. “We were confident here today.”

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 29 points, Jeff Green added 26 and Terry finished with 18.

With leaders such as Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics have “tremendous” pride, Terry said. “Getting swept is something that no man that’s been in this league that long wants to do. It’s disheartening.

“Now we have to go into a hostile environment and they’re going to be trying to get it over with. They don’t want to come back here, but we do.”

The Celtics showed renewed energy early after being held below 80 points in each of the first three games. They led 59-39 three minutes into the third quarter before their recent second-half woes returned.

In previous first halves, they scored just 25 points in Game 1 and 23 in Game 2. Yesterday, they were outscored 30-14 in the third quarter and led just 68-65 heading into the fourth.

“Good teams are going to make those runs,” said Garnett, who had 13 points, 17 rebounds and six assists for Boston. “It’s deflating, but we kept fighting. We found a way to get over the hump.”

Boston held a 65-51 lead when Anthony went to the bench with 3:35 remaining. The Knicks outscored the Celtics 14-3 the rest of the way behind 11 points from Felton and a 3-pointer from Iman Shumpert. Felton finished with 16 points in the quarter.

“He was huge in this game for us,” Kenyon Martin said. “Especially missing J.R., we needed someone else to make shots for us and he did that.”

The Knicks played the first half as if they had taken shooting lessons from the Celtics. New York hit just 11 of 38 shots in the half after Boston made only 39.5 percent of its total attempts in the first three games.

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