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With the Celtics on the brink of being unceremoniously swept from the playoffs, Terry delivered a rarity this season: One of his familiar big-game efforts, scoring nine points in overtime as Boston held off New York 97-90 in Game 4 of the teams' first-round playoff series on Sunday at TD Garden.Tyson Chandler: Chandler scored five points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked one shot in 31 minutes. The Knicks were outscored by six with him on the floor.
The Knicks own a 3-1 series lead as the only things they put away Sunday were their brooms. Game 5 is Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
"I had every intention of trying to make an impact on the game, some way or another," said the 35-year-old Terry, who scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting with four assists over 41 minutes. One game after shuffling to a starting role to help with ballhandling, Terry returned to a bench spot and provided a much-needed spark, accounting for all but four points of Boston's reserve production.
"If I wasn't making shots, I wanted to get a steal, get a rebound, any little thing to keep it going," Terry said. "Again, I'm going to coach AAU, but I don't want to do that right now."
The quintessential Terry postseason performance was highlighted by the quintessential Terry shot. Sneaking out in transition in a tied game late in overtime, Terry found space as three Knicks defenders shaded toward Paul Pierce on the opposite wing. Jeff Green fed Terry, who pulled up in transition on the left side and splashed a 3-pointer -- his lone triple of the game -- before Jason Kidd could get out to contest.
The trifecta broke the game's final tie and Terry added a 13-foot fadeaway, two free throws (after craftily drawing a loose-ball foul call boxing out for a defensive rebound) and a layup before the final horn.
Terry's struggles this season have been well-documented. Celtics coach Doc Rivers had made Terry his first phone call when free agency opened in July and there was hope that the former Sixth Man of the Year would provide a long-missing bench spark for Boston, particularly after Ray Allen defected to the rival Heat.
But Terry, playing the first season of a three-year, $15.7 million contract, slumped throughout the regular season and straight into the playoffs. At times his defense eroded to the point that, unable to convert on the offensive end, he was a liability on the floor. He admits his trademark soaring jet celebration has been stuck in the hangar for much of the season.
Despite taxiing for much of the season, Terry picked a heck of a time to get off the tarmac.
"I've just been patient," he said. "As long as there's time on the clock, as long as there is another game, it's an opportunity for me to do something special. That's just the type of player I am. Whether I've made every shot or missed every shot, I have the same focus, the same confidence."