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James sees Celtics tie series from bench

BOSTON — Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists, and scored the final three points of the Celtics' 93-91 overtime victory over the Heat on Sunday that evened the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.

LeBron James fouled out for the first time since joining the Heat, and the Celtics recovered after blowing an 18-point lead in regulation to move two games away from a third trip to the NBA Finals in five years. Dwayne Wade missed an open 3-pointer that would have won it for Miami at the end of OT.

Paul Pierce, who led the Celtics with 23 points, fouled out early in overtime, and James followed him on an offensive foul with 1:51 left.

Kevin Garnett added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Celtics.

"Stops," Rondo said when asked what was the difference in the tight game. "I think we executed offensively, came up with some lucky plays and we got stops at the end."

James had 29 points and Wade scored 20 after another dismal start for the Heat, which hosts Game 5 on Tuesday night.

In a game that started as a Celtics blowout and turned into a foul- and tension-filled fourth quarter, followed by the second overtime in this series, the Celtics held on when Wade faked defender Marquis Daniels out of position but missed the 3.

"We knew they were going to Wade," Rondo said. " … We're lucky we got a stop."

Mickael Pietrus drew James' sixth foul as they fought for position and had two offensive rebounds that extended consecutive possessions for the Celtics, who lost Game 4 in OT in a second-round series against the Heat last year with a chance to tie the series.

This time, they overcame their second-half stall on the offensive end and in OT limited the Heat to a dunk by former Gator Udonis Haslem.

Rondo's layup gave the Celtics a 92-91 lead with 2:34 left, and neither team scored again until he made a free throw with 21 seconds to play.

In a halftime interview, Rondo said the Heat was "complaining and crying to the referees in transition." He didn't back down after the game: "What I said was true. I don't take back what I said."

MIAMI (91): James 12-25 4-8 29, Battier 2-4 0-0 6, Anthony 1-1 0-0 2, Chalmers 5-13 2-2 12, Wade 7-22 4-5 20, Miller 1-4 0-0 2, Haslem 4-6 4-4 12, Cole 1-2 3-5 5, Jones 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 34-80 17-24 91.

BOSTON (93): Pierce 8-18 5-6 23, Bass 3-8 5-5 11, Garnett 8-20 1-1 17, Rondo 7-14 1-2 15, Allen 6-16 0-0 16, Stiemsma 0-0 0-0 0, Daniels 0-1 1-2 1, Dooling 3-5 1-2 10, Pietrus 0-3 0-2 0. Totals 35-85 14-20 93.

Miami 23 24 21 21 2— 91

Boston 34 27 12 16 4— 93

3-Point GoalsMiami 6-19 (Battier 2-3, Wade 2-6, Jones 1-2, James 1-3, Miller 0-2, Chalmers 0-3), Boston 9-27 (Allen 4-11, Dooling 3-4, Pierce 2-6, Garnett 0-1, Rondo 0-2, Pietrus 0-3). Fouled OutJames, Pierce. ReboundsMiami 56 (Haslem 17), Boston 53 (Garnett 14). AssistsMiami 20 (Wade 6), Boston 22 (Rondo 15). Total FoulsMiami 28, Boston 30. TechnicalsRondo. A18,624 (18,624).

Obituary: LeRoy Ellis, who played 14 years in the NBA after a standout career at St. John's, died of prostate cancer in Portland, Ore. He was 72. Mr. Ellis, who played at St. John's from 1959-62, still holds the school single-season record for rebounding (16.5 a game) and the record for most rebounds in a game with 30 against NYU on Dec. 30, 1961. Mr. Ellis appeared in 1,048 NBA games with the Lakers, Baltimore, Portland and Philadelphia.

East final

Heat 2, Celtics 2

Game 1: Heat 93, Celtics 79

Game 2: Heat 115, Celtics 111 OT

Game 3: Celtics 101, Heat 91

Sunday: Celtics 93, Heat, 91 OT

Tuesday: at Miami, 8:30, ESPN

Thursday: at Boston, 8:30, ESPN

Saturday: at Miami, 8:30, ESPN *

* If necessary

James sees Celtics tie series from bench 06/03/12 [Last modified: Monday, June 4, 2012 12:36am]
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