Celtics edge Heat in overtime to even series
BOSTON — The series is tied 2-2, and who has the advantage now becomes the question:
The Miami Heat with two of the final three games in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals at home?
Or the Boston Celtics, who now have the momentum and seemingly rejuvenation after Sunday night’s 93-91 overtime victory at TD Garden?
Back even in the series with a sweep of the two games on their court, the Celtics blew an early 18-point lead before coming together in overtime on a night that showed there is still plenty of fight left in the legs of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. And plenty of moxie from point guard Rajon Rondo.
The game ended on a wayward three-point attempt from Heat guard Dwyane Wade, ending his seven-for-22 night from the field.
Game 5 is Tuesday in Miami, with Game 6 back on the Celtics’ home court on Thursday night. A Game 7, if needed, would be Friday in Miami.
In a game of twists and turns, one of the biggest came when Heat forward LeBron James fouled out with 1:51 to play. Pierce had fouled out earlier, with 4:22 left in overtime.
The Heat failed to close it out at the end of regulation, when forward Udonis Haslem was off with a jumper, after Wade and James were unable to break free for attempts.
James led the Heat with 29 points, with Wade recovering from early struggles to add 20. Haslem had 12 points and 17 rebounds.
Pierce led the Celtics with 23 points, with Garnett scoring 17, Allen 16 and Rondo 15, in addition to 15 assists.
“Not stressed the series is tied 2-2,” James said. “It’s great basketball, great competition. We wanted to get one up here and we didn’t.”
In overtime, the Heat, with James watching from the bench, was down 93-91 with 21.4 seconds left after Rondo made only the second of two free throws.
After a timeout, the Celtics took a foul they had to give with 14 seconds left in regulation, leading to another Heat timeout.
Wade then kept the ball and pump-faked Marquis Daniels out of position, giving him a good look at a three-point attempt, but it was a little short at the buzzer.
“We knew they were going to Wade. I wanted to check him,” Rondo said. “They set a great pick. . . . We’re lucky we got a stop.
". . . I think we executed offensively, came up with some lucky plays and we got stops at the end.”
The Heat jumped ahead in overtime on a dunk by Haslem with 3:18 to play. But Daniels then got to the line for the Celtics, making only the second foul shot to draw Boston to within 91-90.
Heat point guard Mario Chalmers was off on a three-point try, the rebound going out of bounds to the Heat.
But Chalmers missed on a drive, and Rondo scored on the other end for a 92-91 Boston lead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.