Boston wins series 4-3 (Game 5 of 7)

Boston wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, May 12th
Game 2: Monday, May 14th
Game 3: Wednesday, May 16th
Game 4: Friday, May 18th
Game 5: Monday, May 21st
Game 6: Wednesday, May 23rd
Game 7: Saturday, May 26th

76ers 85

(35-31, 16-17 away)

Celtics 101

(39-27, 24-9 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    7:00 PM ET, May 21, 2012

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHI 27 23 16 1985
    BOS 23 24 28 26101

    Top Performers

    Phi: E. Brand 19 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Bos: B. Bass 27 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Brandon Bass' big night helps Celtics push Sixers to brink

    Associated Press

    BOSTON -- They started as a Big Three and grew to a Big Four when Rajon Rondo earned the right to be mentioned along with the other Boston Celtics All-Stars.

    At no point, however, did Brandon Bass merit marquee billing in his first season in Boston.

    The fifth, newest and least-heralded member of the Celtics' starting lineup, Bass erupted for a career playoff-high 27 points on Monday night, scoring 18 in the third quarter as Boston pulled away from the Philadelphia 76ers to win 101-85 and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

    "We've got a few good players on the team that they had to focus on," said Bass, who left the game to a standing ovation with 2 minutes left and Boston leading by 18. "That left me open, and I was able to take advantage of my opportunity."

    The 27 points matched Bass' regular-season career high, and the 18 points in the third was one off his career playoff high for an entire game. It was also more than the Sixers scored in the quarter as a team.

    "It was one of those games we needed something to ignite us together," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought the biggest difference was his energy. He played with a force. I thought he just let himself go."

    Kevin Garnett added 20 points and Rondo had 13 points and 14 assists for the Celtics, who can advance to the East finals with a victory in Philadelphia in Game 6 on Wednesday. The Sixers would need a win at home to force the series back to Boston for a decisive seventh game.

    As he walked to his postgame interview, Elton Brand told the Celtics' ball boys in the hallway outside the locker rooms: "See you on Saturday."

    No team has won consecutive games yet this series.

    "It would just be nice to win two in a row. That would be terrific," Rivers said. "It's not going to be easy. This series has been hard. Every minute, you think we're leaking oil physically."

    Brand scored 19 and Evan Turner had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia, which led by six points early in the third quarter before Boston scored 14 of the next 16 points. Bass had eight of them, including back-to-back dunks followed by a steal that set up Ray Allen's fast-break layup to give the Celtics a 63-57 lead with five minutes left in the quarter.

    Boston closed out the third with a 10-2 run over the final 3 minutes and outscored the Sixers 28-16 in the period. The Celtics also scored 16 of the first 22 points in the fourth quarter -- seven from Rondo -- to put away the game.

    "We had too many turnovers and that just got those guys going," 76ers center Spencer Hawes said. "They got a couple of easy baskets in transition off our mistakes. It got them going, they took advantage of it and held home court. Now we have to go home and take care of ours."

    The Celtics acquired Bass in December in a trade with Orlando for Glen Davis, and he worked his way into the starting lineup after the All-Star break. Although he solidified the power forward position after Garnett moved to center, he hadn't done anything spectacular -- until Monday.

    Bass hadn't scored more than 22 points in a game this season. His playoff high was 19 points, in 2008.

    Paul Pierce had 16 points -- a perfect 9 for 9 from the free throw line -- and Allen, back in the starting lineup because of an injury to Avery Bradley, had five points.

    Boston tied it 57-all when Bass stole the ball from Thaddeus Young and got to the free throw line, making both foul shots. After a Sixers miss, Rondo found Bass underneath for the dunk. Bass added another crowd-pleasing dunk before knocking loose a ball to start Rondo on a fast break he finished by finding Allen for the layup.

    Game notes

    Actor Will Smith, a 76ers co-owner, was at the game, as were comedians Chris Rock and David Spade. ... Bradley did not play because of problems in both shoulders, Rivers said. ... Rondo had seven assists in the third quarter. He picked up one of his most spectacular when he slipped at the free throw line but left-handed the ball to Greg Stiemsma for the dunk.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 85 101
    FGM-FGA 36-77 (.468) 36-69 (.522)
    3PM-3PA 3-9 (.333) 3-15 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 10-16 (.625) 26-33 (.788)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-37 8-31
    Assists 20 22
    Turnovers 15 12
    Steals 7 11
    Blocks 1 5
    Fast Break Points 7 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 18 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 20

    Top Performers

    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 19
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Brandon Bass Bass
    Points: 27
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2

    Research Notes

    The Celtics had six dunks in Game 5, three by Brandon Bass and five were assisted by Rondo. It was the most dunks in a postseason game for the Celtics since they had six in the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit. Rondo's five assists on dunks are a playoff career-high and are tied for the most in a game in the last five postseasons.
    Brandon Bass is averaging 21 points in his last two games with the Celtics outscoring the 76ers by 19 points with him on the court. After playing just 3 seconds in the fourth quarter of the Game 4 loss, Bass was on the court for 37 minutes in Game 5.
    The 76ers shot 37.1 percent in the second half of Game 5, after shooting 54.8 percent in the first half. The difference was they were able to get the ball inside in the first half, attempting 18-42 (42.9 pct) shots inside the restricted area, compared to 11-35 (31.4 pct) in the second half.
    From Elias: Brandon Bass spent last season in Orlando. According to Elias, Bass is just the 6th Celtics player to score 27+ points in a playoff game after playing for a different team the prior season. The only player on the list with multiple 27+ point games is Kevin Garnett, who recorded 3 such games in the 2008 playoffs.
    Brandon Bass: 18 points in 3rd quarter (most he's ever scored in a regular season or postseason quarter). His previous high was 16 points in the 2nd quarter against the Kings on Feb. 21, 2009, as a member of the Mavericks.

    ESPN Stats & Information