MIAMI – Rajon Rondo scored a career-high 44 points to go with 8 rebounds and 10 assists, but it was not enough as Miami defeated the Boston Celtics in overtime 115-111 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Boston led by as many as 15 in the first half, but an 11-0 run late in the third quarter lifted the Heat to an 81-75 lead after three quarters.
The Celtics opened the final period on a 13-4 run to regain the lead at 88-85. The Celtics would lead by as many as five in the quarter, but Shane Battier’s three with 2:18 remaining tied the game at 94. Two free throws from LeBron James on the next Miami possession pushed the Heat back into the lead putting them up two.
Boston looked dead in the water after Udonis Haslem’s baseline jumper with 1:07 to play gave the Heat a 98-94 lead. But after a layup on the other end by Kevin Garnett, Miami’s Dwyane Wade split a pair of free throws to leave the door open for Boston. The foul that sent Wade to the line was called on Paul Pierce which was his sixth. The Celtics tied the game on the next possession on a wide-open triple from future Hall of Fame guard Ray Allen that evened the game 99-99.
Miami had two opportunities to win the game in regulation, but James missed a pair of shots and the game went into overtime.
Rondo scored all 12 of Boston’s overtime points and gave the Celtics the lead three times in the extra session. But Miami always had an answer and Haslem’s dunk with 1:07 remaining put the Heat ahead for good. A three-point-play from Wade on the following possession would be the dagger as Miami went on to make five of their final six free throws to secure the win.
James led the Heat with 34 points while Wade and Mario Chalmers added 23 and 22 respectively. Haslem scored all 13 of his points in the second half and recorded a game-high 11 rebounds. Boston got 21 points from Pierce, 18 from Garnett and 13 from Allen as the days of the “Big 3″ in Boston are beginning to look numbered.
The series will shift to Boston for Game 3 on Friday with the Celtics look to avoid an 0-3 hole. Boston is 6-1 at home this postseason.
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