For 24 minutes of Game 5, the Celtics  looked lazy, old, disinterested and whatever other adjective you want to use to describe a team that appeared resigned to the fact that Father Time wasn’t willing to cooperate and the Eastern Conference semifinals were slipping away to the younger, fresher legs of the 76ers.
Whatever they felt, the hushed Garden crowd sensed it, too. And then the third quarter happened.
Whether it was the ridiculous offensive foul call on Kevin Garnett  against Spencer Hawes  four minutes after halftime that elicited chants of “bull[stuff], bull[stuff]” or the barrage of Brandon Bass  buckets, the Celtics awoke a Boston crowd that sleepwalked through the first half. Or was it the other way around?
“This goddamned crowd here sparks you,” said Garnett (20 points, 8-of-17 FG). “It doesn’t take much here, man. … When speaking about this crowd, man, it’s like plugging in. They’re enthused from 48 minutes on, from the tip on, so I can’t see the difference between minute from minute. I feel like every minute I look up, I see my family, I see people yelling, I see the drunk, fat guy. I can decipher one from the other. This crowd is ridiculous, man. I love it.”
The Celtics outscored the 76ers 28-16 in a third quarter that featured 18 of Bass’ career-high 27 points, turning a 50-47 halftime deficit into a 75-66 lead that ballooned as large as 20 in the fourth. After his charge (the second of four personal fouls), Garnett ignited a 10-0 run with a 17-footer that was followed by a pair of Bass free throws, two Bass dunks, a Ray Allen  layup from Rajon Rondo  and a Sixers timeout that sent the Garden crowd into a frenzy.
Bass “was able to make statement plays that get the crowd involved with two dunks in a row, and we were just never able to recover after that,” said 76ers sixth man Lou Williams.
“It’s like taking a cold shower, stepping into a freezer that’s below 60,” added Garnett of the Boston crowd. “I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you want the feeling, try it out, come back and let me know.”
Alrighty, then. Well, now Garnett and the Celtics hope to close out the series in Game 6 on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, where the Philly faithful surely will give the 76ers a similar homecourt advantage, right KG?
“Not even close,” he said. “Not even close. You got fans, and then you got fair-weather fans. Take it how you want.”
Now if only Boston fans could settle this whole Brian Scalabrine  chant thing. First, the “Scal-a-bri-ne” chants rained down as their C’s trailed the 76ers by seven in the second half of their eventual Game 2 loss, and then the same White Mamba mantra capped Monday night’s victory when Bass deserved all their praise.  Go figure.