BOSTON - Jason Terry got the ultimate revenge.
Terry, the recipient of J.R. Smith's elbow to the face in Game 3, scored Boston's last nine points as the Celtics staved off elimination with a 97-90 overtime victory over the Knicks Sunday in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.
"Maybe that elbow . . . who knows . . . changed the events for all of us," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Definitely Jason Terry was angry that it happened. He let his teammates know yesterday and today. But he's just a fighter."
With Smith suspended for the game, Terry hit a three-pointer with 1:32 left in OT to snap a tie at 88 and give the Celtics the lead for good.
After the Knicks closed to within one point, Terry hit a baseline jumper and two free throws to make it 95-90. His breakaway layup with 6.5 seconds left sealed the win.
"It wasn't really the elbow,'' said Terry, who scored 18 points in 40:50. "It was more this is it. I mean, the season's over. You can leave it all out here and go home for a long summer or you can live to play another day.''
Whether it was Smith's elbow or the Knicks' alleged Game 3 showboating or just some overdue pride, the Celtics came to play Sunday.
"I already called my friends in New York [Saturday], telling them I'd be there for dinner,'' said Paul Pierce (29 points).
The Celtics, faced with being swept and playing in front of a TD Garden crowd that featured more than a few Knicks fans, saved their season despite blowing a 20-point third-quarter lead.
No NBA team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. But the Celtics got the series back to New York for Wednesday night's Game 5.
Jeff Green scored 26 points and Kevin Garnett had 13 points, 17 rebounds and six assists. The Celtics went ahead by double-digits in the second quarter and stormed into halftime with a 54-35 advantage. It was the third time in the series the Celtics led at the half.
The lead grew to 59-39 early in the third quarter, but the Knicks rallied behind Raymond Felton and tied it at 74 with seven minutes to go in the fourth. Felton outscored Boston 16-14 in the third quarter. Still, the Celtics outplayed the Knicks in overtime.
Said Rivers, "Very, very proud of a lot of our guys.''