Pride won yesterday at the Garden. Now it’s back to playing basketball.

The Celtics today are like an old, wounded lion bleeding in the tall grass as the sun sets. They are still prideful, still dangerous, still lions after all, but no longer the kings of their jungle. That was obvious as they bit and clawed their way to a 97-90 overtime win over the New York Knicks to stay alive for at least one more night in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

There was every reason to make another choice, especially after blowing a 20-point second-half lead. There was every reason to despair, every reason to give up, 103 reasons to find justification for rolling over in the grass and breathing their last because the truth is no team in NBA history has ever survived a 3-0 playoff deficit.

But there was one elemental reason to reject those arguments and it was as simple as this: you are a lion so you roar.

“Yeah there was a lot of pride,” admitted Paul Pierce, who came up big when it counted, finishing the day playing a ridiculous 49 minutes and 51 seconds of the 53 minutes it took to settle this issue while pouring home a team-high 29 points.

“You saw it with the attitude before the game. We knew we were gonna come out with the force we did today and it carried over into the game. Every time I look up there (toward the rafters) you feel it, you see it, you hear it. There is just so much pride when you look around. The (championship) banners, the crowd, everything going on with the Boston Celtics’ history.”

That was obvious when they tore off to a nine-point lead six minutes into the game, a bellowing response to the adversity the Knicks had forced upon them in this Eastern Conference playoff series.