Friday, March 21, 2014
BOSTON — Rajon Rondo hit two running baseline shots in the last two minutes and the Boston Celtics capitalized on the absence of LeBron James to beat the Miami Heat 101-96 Wednesday night.
One night after scoring 43 points in a 100-96 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, James sat out the game with back spasms and the Heat lost for the first time in their three games without him this season.
Rondo finished with nine points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds as Boston stopped a five-game losing streak. Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points and had career highs of six 3-point baskets and nine 3-point attempts. Brandon Bass added 18 points.
The Heat, which had won their previous two games after losing five of six, were led by Wade with 17 points, Chris Andersen with 16 and Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem with 14 each.
With the score tied, Jeff Green hit a 3-pointer that put the Celtics ahead 97-94 with 2:32 remaining. Then Rondo, who had missed four of his six shots, banked the ball in from the right with 1:44 to go. Wade converted an offensive rebound, cutting the lead to 99-96 with 1:32 left.
Each team missed a shot before Rondo connected again on a short shot with 18.7 seconds to play.
It capped an impressive comeback after one of the NBA’s best teams had built a 14-point lead early in the second quarter. Boston outscored Miami 48-37 in the second half.
Bradley started the scoring with a 21-foot jumper, giving the Celtics their only lead of the first half. A dunk by Haslem tied the game 2-2 and the Heat led 34-22 after the first quarter.
Michael Beasley, making his second start of the season, began the second quarter with a running hook that gave Miami its biggest lead of the half.
But Boston rallied to cut it to 59-53 at intermission.
Haslem, whose season-high was seven points, had 14 at halftime but didn’t score again. And Miami outscored Boston 32-8 in the paint and 11-0 on fast breaks in the half.
The Celtics took control to start the second half, going on a 12-2 run to lead 63-61 with 9:50 left in the third quarter. Bradley had six of their points.
Then the Heat scored the next six points and took a 69-67 lead with 7:23 to go in the period. The lead changed hands five times after that in the quarter, which ended with Boston leading 80-78.
NOTES: Heat center Greg Oden got the night off to rest after starting the last two games and playing in nine of the last 12. ... Both teams had good shooting nights with Boston hitting 50.6 percent of its shots and Miami connecting on 49.4 percent. ... Chris Bosh finished with just six points, but had 11 rebounds. ... Andersen’s 16 points were two less than his high for his 11 seasons.