Brandon Bass scored 18 points in the third quarter and 27 points for the game as the Celtics turned on the intensity after halftime and ran away from the Philadelphia 76ers, 101-85, in Game 5 at TD Garden.
The Celtics trailed by four at halftime, but Bass's unlikely outburst was the catalyst for a third quarter that saw the Celtics shoot 61 percent and hold Philadelphia to 33 percent shooting. Bass was 6 for 7 in the third; Rajon Rondo assisted on 7 of Boston's 11 field goals in the period. The Celtics played the game without Avery Bradley, who sat out with a left shoulder injury.
Bradley's defense was missed in the first half as the Celtics allowed Philadelphia to shoot 55 percent from the floor. The Sixers had eight offensive rebounds and scored 10 second-chance points in the first half.
But the Celtics turned it on in the third quarter, putting their foot down after halftime like they so often do. In the blink of an eye, the Celtics went on a 10-0 run to take a 63-57 lead with 4:56 remaining. They led by nine points after three and never looked back.
In addition to Bass's big game, the Celtics got 20 points from Kevin Garnett. Rondo added 13 points and 14 assists.
Game 6 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia, where the Celtics have a chance to close out the series and await the winner of Miami-Indiana.
2:49 4th quarter, Celtics 96-76: Gino Time.
5:31 4th quarter, Celtics 89-72: Good response by the Celtics to open it up. Rondo is up to 13 assists. Will Smith and Jada have left the building.
8:14 4th quarter, Celtics 81-66: Celtics are forcing their offense the last two minutes or so. They can close the game out here if they play a little smarter.
9:53 4th quarter, Celtics 79-66: Bass back into the game for Stiemsma after a brief rest. Give the man the ball.
Lavoy Allen picked up his fourth foul for Philadelphia. That could be big.
End 3d quarter, Celtics 75-66: Holy cow. Brandon Bass scored 18 points in the third quarter and Paul Pierce punctuated the period with a step-back jumper to put the Celtics up by nine. Total scoring in the third: Celtics 28, Sixers 16.
2:30 3d quarter, Celtics 67-64: How are the Celtics going to close this quarter without Garnett? Try Brandon Bass, who's got 14 points in the quarter after scoring five in the first half. He's doing chin-ups on the rim.
4:48 3d quarter, Celtics 63-57: It's loud in here. Philly turnovers are leading to easy buckets for the Celtics. Rondo has a nice thing working with Brandon Bass down low. Even Ray Allen has gotten into transition.
One weird stat: Rondo scored six of the C's first nine points driving to the hoop. Missed two free throws with 1:18 left in first. Hasn't scored since.
6:56 3d quarter, Sixers 57-50: Philadelphia is leaving the door open here. Kevin Garnett just got called for an offensive foul using his off arm to shield Elton Brand on a dunk attempt. Apparently KG isn't as big of a star as Griffin. Crowd did not like that call too much.
9:53 3d quarter, Sixers 55-49: Spencer Hawes just picked up his fourth personal. That's tough to do for a guy who doesn't enter the paint.
Halftime, Sixers 50-47: This Philadelphia team is on pace for 100 points? There's your problem right there. Sixers are shooting 55 percent.
It's Turn Back the Clock Night here as Elton Brand has 12 points and Garnett has 14 points to lead all scorers.
3:20 2d quarter, Sixers 45-40: Crowd groans as the Celtics give up another offensive chance on this possession. Are people just discovering they can't rebound? Rebounding total is 18-12, Sixers. The Sixers have 8 offensive rebounds. The Celtics have 8 defensive rebounds.
6:25 2d quarter, Sixers 40-35: Rondo throws an alley-oop attempted for Mickael Pietrus that Pietrus can't get to. Air France, maybe not. Lou Williams has no conscience. Took a long jumper with a hand in his face and canned it.
8:52 2d quarter, Sixers 31-30: Ryan Hollins with two rebounds and a put-back on a Garnett miss. That got the crowd fired up. Pierce follows with a 3-pointer.
Will Smith and Chris Rock are both in the house.
End 1st quarter, Sixers 27-23: Philadelphia shoots 57 percent to Boston's 56 percent and leads after one. The Celtics were using a funky lineup of Rondo, Allen, Pietrus, Stiemsma, and Bass for a little while. This is the post-Avery Bradley era. Jrue Holiday has seven points for the Sixers.
2:09 1st quarter, Sixers 23-19: Greg Stiemsma is in the game as the Celtics go big instead of small. He's got six points and is 3 of 3, but he's getting beaten on defense and on the boards. That's the highs and lows of playing him.
5:46 1st quarter, Sixers 12-11: Rajon Rondo leads all scorers with six points. The Celtics are making lazy passes. They've got two turnovers to two assists, but it could be worse.
9:53 1st quarter, Celtics 5-2: Ray Allen hits his first 3-point attempt for the game. Good sign.
Pregame: Avery Bradley is out. Ray Allen starts for the Celtics. Celtics lose their "defensive captain", according to Doc Rivers. Series complexion has changed. Let's get it.