brandon bass

The fifth, newest and least-heralded member of the Celtics’ starting lineup, Brandon Bass erupted for a career playoff-high 27 points on Monday night, scoring 18 in the third quarter as Boston pulled away from the Philadelphia 76ers to win 101-85 and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

”We’ve got a few good players on the team that they had to focus on,” said Bass, who left the game to a standing ovation with 2 minutes left and Boston leading by 18. ”That left me open, and I was able to take advantage of my opportunity.”

The 27 points matched Bass’ regular-season career high, and the 18 points in the third was one off his career playoff high for an entire game. It was also more than the Sixers scored in the quarter as a team…

Kevin Garnett added 20 points and Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 14 assists for the Celtics, who can advance to the East finals with a victory in Philadelphia in Game 6 on Wednesday. The Sixers would need a win at home to force the series back to Boston for a decisive seventh game…

Brand scored 19 and Evan Turner had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia, which led by six points early in the third quarter before Boston scored 14 of the next 16 points. Bass had eight of them, including back-to-back dunks followed by a steal that set up Ray Allen’s fast-break layup to give the Celtics a 63-57 lead with five minutes left in the quarter…

Paul Pierce had 16 points - a perfect 9 for 9 from the free throw line - and Allen, back in the starting lineup because of an injury to Avery Bradley, had five points.

– Reported by Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press

“All in all, I just think we had a bad third,” said Lou Williams, limited to nine points. “We had a bunch of turnovers and they scored on all of them, especially when we’re in their building with an experienced team like that. We didn’t help ourselves in the third. A lot of that was transition basketball. They were running off of turnovers and guys were scrambling, trying to get matched up, and Bass was a recipient of a lot of those plays, statement plays that gets the crowd involved with two dunks in a row. We just never could recover.”

After the Sixers took a 50-47 lead at the break, Bass outscored them by two points in the third when the Celtics took command and the Sixers folded more times than a map. They’ll get a chance to redeem themselves and even the series on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center in Game 6, which will begin at 8 p.m. Game 7, if necessary, will be Saturday in Boston.

During that 28-16 burst, the Sixers’ defense left much to be desired. In the second part of the third quarter, the Celtics got four dunks just from the Sixers not rotating properly. And Bass looked Larry Bird-like, making all but one of his seven shots, making all of his six free throws and perhaps pretty much wrapping up the series.

– Reported by Bob Cooney of theĀ Philadelphia Daily News

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.

– Reported by Gary Dzen of theĀ Boston.com Blog