INDIANAPOLIS, April 29 (Ticker) --
On the verge of becoming the first
team to advance, the Boston Celtics took a giant step backward.
NBA TV highlights from|
Nestle Crunch Time: Tim Hardaway
and Jermaine O'Neal
combined to score the only five
points in overtime as the Indiana Pacers rallied for a 93-88
victory over the Celtics, who became the first team in NBA
playoff history to go scoreless in an overtime.
Boston, which entered Game 5 with a 3-1 lead in the
best-of-seven series, led by as many as nine points in the
fourth quarter and had an 86-81 lead with 4:27 remaining in
But the Celtics followed with an unprecedented stretch of
futility, scoring only two points thereafter as both teams
struggled offensively down the stretch.
"It almost seemed like the first team to score would win,"
Indiana guard Reggie Miller
said. "It was an unbelievable game
with unbelievable energy from both teams. The intensity level
was so thick out there. It was a fun game to be a part of."
The Celtics forced overtime on Antoine Walker
's layup with 2:01
remaining but did not score in the final seven minutes.
In overtime, Boston missed all six shots and Walker misfired on
a pair of free throws with 1:58 remaining. The Celtics became
the ninth team in league history to go scoreless in an overtime
and first since Dec. 1, 2000.
Boston held the previous record for fewest points in overtime,
managing just one in the second OT of a home loss to Charlotte
on May 1, 1993.
"Both teams had trouble scoring," Walker said. "I missed two
free throws that could've sealed it. It was a defensive battle
"They defended well and took us out of our offense," Boston
guard Paul Pierce
said. "We couldn't get a bucket late in the
fourth and in overtime and you have to give them credit. They
were fighting for their lives."
The Pacers snapped a six-minute scoring drought when Artest made
1-of-2 free throws for an 89-88 lead with 68 seconds left.
After Boston's Walter McCarty
missed a jumper, O'Neal buried a
shot from the right baseline with 32 seconds to go -- Indiana's
only basket in 10 overtime attempts.
Pierce fired an airball on the Celtics' next possession and
Artest, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds, sank two free throws
with 12 seconds remaining as the Pacers pulled within 3-2 in the
Eastern Conference first-round series.
"I thought our guys showed great courage," Indiana coach Isiah
Thomas said. "Offensively we didn't shoot well, but defensively
I thought our guys showed great heart. I have watched this team
show resiliency the last two years."
O'Neal collected 19 points and 22 rebounds and Ron Mercer
added 13 points apiece for Indiana, who held a
55-42 rebounding advantage and grabbed 17 offensive boards
leading to 17 points.
Walker finished with 21 points and Tony Delk
added 19 for the
Celtics, who have never blown a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven
"We had a nine-point lead and we could not put them away,"
Pierce said. "I don't want to blame the loss on fatigue. They
were desperate and we just didn't close them out."
Pierce scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and
made just 5-of-21 shots for Boston, which hosts Game Six on
"There is no pressure on us in Game Six," Boston's Eric Williams
said. "We have the home court and the short turnaround
shouldn't hurt us. This loss won't linger because we can get
right back out there."
Pierce and J.R. Bremer
ended the third quarter with consecutive
3-pointers to give the Celtics a 71-62 lead entering the fourth
period. The teams traded baskets to open the final period before
the Pacers went on a 15-7 run.
Artest scored six points during the spurt and Hardaway capped it
with a 3-pointer to bring Indiana within 80-79 with 6:30 to go.
Pierce responded with consecutive jumpers and Boston had an
86-81 edge on Walker's layup with 4:27 left. Artest made a pair
of layups around a 3-pointer from Hardaway for an 88-86 lead
with 2:02 remaining.
Walker tied it on a layup and neither team scored in the final
two minutes, combining to miss six shots.