The Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets are trying to rewrite the NBA record books by becoming the first two teams to come back from a 0-3 deficit in the Playoffs.
Well, the Celtics won their last two games, including a critical 92-86 win in Game 5 on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) that suddenly brought silence before a usually boisterous Madison Square Garden crowd.
For the Celtics, it was their three-point shooting that carried them back to slash the series deficit to 2-3, showing they have well moved on since star point guard Rajon Rondo’s season-ending knee (ACL) injury several months ago.
On the other hand, the Rockets rode on the hot-shooting of a flu-stricken James Harden to out-steady the suddenly wobbly Oklahoma City Thunder, 107-100 in Game 5 in Oklahoma’s home turf.
Harden, the former valuable sixth man of the Thunder, played like a man possessed, unloading 36 points on seven-of-nine shots from beyond the arc for the confidence-building win to stay alive in their first round battle.
The Thunder had been overly-reliant on Kevin Durant, who scored 36 points as they continue to struggle without top playmaker Russell Westbrook due to a season-ending injury. Oklahoma City appears to have a difficult time adjusting to playoff life without Westbrook, who scores, rebounds and passes well for his size.
Checking on the NBA record book, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series. Although the 1951 New York Knickerbockers, the 1994 Denver Nuggets, and the 2003 Portland Trailblazers came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the series at 3-3, neither won their respective Game 7.
New York now needs to finish the series at the Celtics’ home floor in Boston while Oklahoma travels to Houston with the hope of stopping its playoff bleeding.
Can the aging Celtics of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, as well as Harden and the Rockets pull off two more miracle wins to make register a historic series win?
Photo sources: www.sbnation.com