Kevin Garnett once again proved that with the game on the line, he’s still one of the best big-money players in the NBA. With the Celtics clinging to a five-point lead with just more than a minute to go in Game 5 of their opening-round series against the Knicks Wednesday night, Garnett hit a jumper that silenced Madison Square Garden and sealed a 92-86 Boston victory.
New York still leads the series 3-2, but the Celtics were able to survive for a second straight game and force Game 6 in Boston Friday night.
Garnett was the star of the game Wednesday night, finishing the evening with 16 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Paul Pierce added 16 points, with Jason Terry adding 17 after pouring in 18 in Game 4 Sunday.
Despite the typical efforts from the usual stars, Brandon Bass may have had the most important performance for Boston. The eight-year veteran, who scored just 17 total points in the first four games of this series, put together 17 points Wednesday night, including a nine-point first quarter after the Celtics fell down 11-0 to open the game.
While the Celtics won thanks to balance on offense, the Knicks were hamstrung by the inability to get anyone going offensively other than Raymond Felton and Carmelo Anthony. Felton finished with a 21 points for New York on Wednesday, to follow up a 27-point effort in Game 4 Sunday. Anthony added 22 points, but scored 12 of them in the first quarter.
Beyond those two, the rest of the Knicks' offense was stagnant, with just 20 points total coming from their bench. Fourteen of those came from Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, although he did it on just 3-14 shooting from the field. Smith returned to the lineup on Wednesday following a suspension in Game 4 Sunday.
Now, New York must head to Boston forced to win a Game 6 on the road, or fear returning to New York with the series on the line in Game 7.
The Knicks could also return to New York with a bit of injury uncertainty, as Anthony suffered what appeared to be a minor shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. On the play, Anthony got tangled up with Garnett on defense and quickly grabbed his left shoulder. He briefly went to the bench before returning to the court without missing any game action.