MIAMI — The biggest postseason comeback in Heat history wasn't enough. It needed overtime to defeat the Celtics 115-111 and take a 2-0 lead in the East final on Wednesday.
LeBron James had 34 points and 10 rebounds while Dwyane Wade scored 23 for Miami.
"This group had resolve," Wade said of the Celtics. "They came out and played a great game. It was physical early. They brought the game to us. That can't happen. We used our crowd and their energy to get back into the game."
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo played all 53 minutes, recording 44 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
"He was absolutely phenomenal," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Put us, put the whole team, at times, on his shoulders."
The Heat came back from 14 down in playoff games twice, in Game 6 of the 2006 Finals — its title clincher — and last season. Wednesday, it trailed by 15 in the first half and by 11 in the third before two 3-pointers by James started a comeback. And a 9-0 run put the Heat up 98-94.
But Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 34.3 seconds left tied it at 99. Then James missed two shots, a layup, on which he got the rebound, and a jumper over Rondo at the buzzer.
In overtime, Rondo scored, the Heat tied it. Rondo scored. The Heat tied it. Rondo scored. The Heat tied it.
But Rondo missed a layup with 1:33 left, and Miami took a 107-105 lead on Udonis Haslem's dunk. After a Boston turnover, Wade drove the lane, fell after being fouled and watched his layup bounce on the rim and through. Wade made the free throw with 59.7 seconds left.
BOSTON (111): Pierce 8-19 5-6 21, Bass 2-4 4-4 8, Garnett 6-18 6-6 18, Rondo 16-24 10-12 44, Allen 5-11 1-1 13, Stiemsma 1-1 0-0 2, Pietrus 1-3 0-0 3, Dooling 1-1 0-0 2, Hollins 0-0 0-0 0, Daniels 0-0 0-0 0, Pavlovic 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-81 26-29 111.
MIAMI (115): Battier 3-9 0-0 9, James 7-20 18-24 34, Turiaf 1-1 0-0 2, Chalmers 8-16 3-7 22, Wade 8-15 7-11 23, Anthony 0-1 2-2 2, Miller 3-7 0-0 7, Jones 1-2 0-0 3, Cole 0-0 0-0 0, Haslem 6-12 1-3 13. Totals 37-83 31-47 115.
Boston 24 29 22 24 12— 111
Miami 18 28 35 18 16— 115
3-Point Goals—Boston 5-16 (Rondo 2-2, Allen 2-5, Pietrus 1-3, Garnett 0-1, Pierce 0-5), Miami 10-26 (Chalmers 3-6, Battier 3-8, James 2-6, Jones 1-2, Miller 1-4). Fouled Out—Pierce, Pietrus, Dooling. Rebounds—Boston 48 (Bass 10), Miami 58 (Haslem 11). Assists—Boston 15 (Rondo 10), Miami 24 (James 7). Total Fouls—Boston 33, Miami 18. Technicals—Garnett, Chalmers. A—19,973 (19,600).
Down 2-0, Thunder must find answers
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City has struggled to slow a San Antonio offense that's clicking on all cylinders during a 20-game win streak, including Games 1 and 2 of the West final.
But maybe the Thunder, which hosts Game 3 tonight, found something while trying to trim a 22-point third-quarter deficit during Tuesday's Game 2.
It turned it into a physical contest, cutting the lead to six before the Spurs held on 120-111.
"We're a physical team. We have to play that way," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "If we play free-flowing basketball, we can beat some teams. But we're not at our best if we're not being physical on the defensive end. Even on offense, we're a physical team. We set up our screens, and we attack the basket."
The Spurs scored 39 fourth-quarter points in a Game 1 rally then shot 63 percent from the field and 64 percent on 3-pointers while building the big lead in Game 2.
"We have to play with maximum effort every possession. If you don't do that, you give them so many open looks because they're the best passing team," Brooks said. "They make the plays for each other. They make them consistently, and they make them quickly and on time."
Hornets get first pick
NEW YORK — The Hornets won the lottery for the No. 1 pick, which they likely will use on Kentucky forward Anthony Davis.
"Just a first step for us to winning it all," said Tom Benson, the Saints owner who recently purchased the Hornets. New Orleans had the league's fourth-worst record and a 13.7 percent chance to win the pick.
The Bobcats, after going 7-59 for the worst win percentage in NBA history, fell to No. 2 despite having a 25 percent chance of winning the No. 1. The team with the worst record hasn't won the lottery since Orlando took Dwight Howard in 2004.
"When you win seven games, you have a lot of holes," Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said. "We know we're still going to get a good player."
Ewing out in Charlotte: Bobcats president Rod Higgins said Magic assistant Patrick Ewing won't be the team's new coach. Charlotte will interview Pacers assistant Brian Shaw today, ESPN.com reported. It previously reported it will interview Lakers assistant Quin Snyder on Monday.
Bird wants to stay: Larry Bird said he hopes to continue as Pacers president. He remains without an extension for a contract that expires after this season. Bird had been noncommittal about returning until Wednesday. He said he has talked owner Herb Simon a "few times" on the phone since the Pacers were eliminated by the Heat last week.
* From Nets
# From Timberwolves via Clippers
Full draft order, 2C