NEW YORK —
He’s still got a chance.
The Knicks limited the Celtics to 75 points per game while winning the first three, and nearly came back to win Game 4 on Sunday even without Smith. So they felt good even after missing their first chance to wrap it up.
Though few of these players were here for the streak, the Knicks were perhaps a bit overconfident leading into the game for a franchise that before last year had lost an NBA-record eight straight postseason games.
Smith said Tuesday he’d have been playing golf instead of practicing had he played in Game 4, and players wore black to the game Wednesday as if they were heading to the Celtics’ “funeral.”
Forget the funeral. The Celtics are still very much alive.
Smith finally made a 3-pointer to end his drought, and then another cut what had been a 15-point Boston lead to 88-83 with 1:05 remaining. But Garnett made a jumper, then knocked down two free throws to clinch it.
The Knicks were just 5 of 22 from 3-point range, which looked worse until Smith hit three late ones.
The Sixth Man of the Year received a loud ovation when he went to check in during the first quarter, but heard a few boos by the third. They will likely be deafening on Friday, the kind usually reserved in Boston for a Lakers player.
By the time Anthony drove right into the middle of the lane for a dunk that made it 11-0, the Celtics already had three turnovers. But Bass made a pair of free throws and then a dunk to settle them down. He added five more points in the period as Boston climbed within 22-20 even though Pierce missed all six shots in a scoreless 12 minutes.
He made a 3-pointer shortly after returning from a break in the second, and another gave the Celtics their first lead at 34-33 with 5:46 remaining in the half. Then Garnett had two baskets in an 8-0 run that gave Boston a 42-37 advantage.