NEW YORK — The Celtics have history on their minds and momentum on their side.
No team in the NBA has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven postseason series to win it, and the Celtics are openly dreaming about becoming the first.
Wednesday night, they moved another significant step closer to doing so by beating the Knicks, 92-86, in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden and sending the first-round series back to Boston on Friday night.
“Someone’s going to do it,” coach Doc Rivers said of coming back from 3-0. “I want it to be us, obviously, because that’s the situation we’re in, but someone will do it. I really want to be a part of that.”
And Wednesday night the Celtics played with calm and ease almost as if they were balling on the street with no one in the stands and nothing but their pride on the line.
By forcing the series to return to Boston for Game 6 on Friday night, the Celtics have already accomplished a rare feat. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, of the 103 teams that fell behind 3-0 in a best-of-seven series coming into this postseason, only 10 of them extended the series to a sixth game.
Pacers rout Hawks
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers came back home and reasserted themselves in the paint.
David West had 24 points, while Paul George added 21 points and 10 rebounds in the Pacers’ 106-83 rout of the Hawks in Game 5 of this Eastern Conference first-round series.
Rockets extend series
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City, we have a problem.
With injured star Russell Westbrook watching from the luxury box, the Oklahoma City Thunder had no answer for the Rockets’ uptempo style as Houston pulled away for a 107-100 victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
James Harden, after shooting 4-of-25 from behind the arc in the first four games of the series, made his first seven 3-point attempts Wednesday en route to a 31-point effort despite dealing with flu-like symptoms.