BOSTON -- Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists Sunday night and scored the final three points of the Boston Celtics' 93-91 overtime victory against the Miami Heat that evened the Eastern Conference final at two games apiece.
Getting a huge break when LeBron James fouled out for the first time since joining the Heat, the Celtics recovered after blowing an 18-point lead in regulation and moved two games away from a third trip to the final round in the past five years.
Kevin Garnett added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Celtics, while Paul Pierce scored 23 points before fouling out. Ray Allen finished with 16 points.
"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 Dwyane Wade scored 20 after another dismal start for the Heat, who will play host Tuesday night to Game 5.
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 missed a potential winning 3-pointer on the last possession.
"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."
Mickael Pietrus drew James' sixth foul and grabbed two huge offensive rebounds that extended consecutive possessions for the Celtics, who overcame their second-half blahs on the offensive end by limiting the Heat to just one basket in overtime by 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. Wade, already finding it tough to locate any room with Chris Bosh out and then having to do it James also on the sideline, saw his potential winning attempt bounce off the rim as time expired.
In what could have been the final game in Boston for the Celtics' Big Three, they scored 61 points in a sensational first half that concluded with some televised trash talk from Rondo. But they managed only 12 points in the third quarter, and Wade finally got going after managing just eight points on 2-of-11 shooting in the first half.
After leading the Celtics to the highest-scoring half the Heat have surrendered this postseason, Rondo even fired a shot at the visitors, saying in his televised halftime interview what was working for Boston was the Heat "complaining and crying to the referees in transition."nba