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Associated Press
Boston’s Jeff Green collides with New York’s Tyson Chandler during the first half Wednesday.

Celtics top Knicks to avoid elimination

– Back in the series, now back to Boston.

The Celtics, winners of the most NBA championships, are two victories from making more history.

Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 18 rebounds and the Celtics stayed alive in the NBA playoffs, cutting the New York Knicks’ lead to 3-2 with a 92-86 victory Wednesday night.

The Celtics play host for Game 6 on Friday night, needing two victories to become the first NBA team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series.

“We just wanted to keep it going,” Brandon Bass said.

Bass added 17 points, steadying Boston as it shook off an 11-0 deficit and pulled away in the second half to stop the Knicks again from achieving their first playoff series victory since 2000.

“We didn’t panic and that’s something we’ve done, but we didn’t,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought once the game got back to that five, six area, our guys were good again.”

J.R. Smith, back from his one-game suspension for elbowing Jason Terry with the Knicks way ahead late in Game 3, missed his first 10 shots and finished 3 of 14 for 14 points.

Terry also scored 17 off the bench.

Jeff Green scored 18 points and Paul Pierce had 16 as he and Garnett, the two franchise stalwarts, extended this season – and perhaps their Celtics careers – at least one more game.

Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but was 8 of 24 in another dismal shooting night for the Knicks, who blew a big lead in this game and now the series. They face an unwanted trip back to Boston instead of the rest this aging roster could surely use before the second round.

If they get there.

“I think we’re fine,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “Sure we would’ve loved to close it out and move on, but nobody said it would be easy.”

Note: Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was unanimously chosen the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.

Lillard, the sixth overall pick in last June’s draft out of Weber State, led all rookies with a 19-point scoring average. He also averaged 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, playing in all 82 games this season.

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