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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pierce comes up big as Celts take 3-0 lead

MIAMI (AP) There was no diagraming of a special play in the final Boston huddle, no brilliant piece of strategy.

Paul Pierce demanded the ball.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers agreed.

And with Dwyane Wade watching helplessly from the bench, cramps rendering him unable to put any weight on his left leg, Pierce put Boston one win from a first-round sweep of the Heat.

Pierce dribbled the clock down to 2 seconds, got to his favorite spot just off the right side of the key and nailed a 7-meter jumper at the buzzer Friday night, giving the Celtics a 100-98 victory in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference first-round series.

Boston could advance to the second round by beating Miami on Sunday.

"It's still a series," Pierce insisted.

Might not be for long.

No team has ever rallied from an 0-3 deficit in a series, and Miami might have even bigger problems.

Wade hurt his left calf after missing a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left, replays showing he landed on Celtics guard Ray Allen's foot. Wade — who changed jerseys during the game because he was sweating so much — crumpled to the court and was carried off by reserve center Jamaal Magloire and trainer Jay Sabol, then chugged a cup of Gatorade so he could play if the game went to overtime.

It didn't. Pierce saw to that, his final shot capping a 32-point effort.

"Get out of the way and get Paul the ball," Celtics guard Rajon Rondo said. "Pretty simple. He made the play."

Allen added 25 points for the Celtics, who got 17 from Rondo and 16 from Kevin Garnett.

Wade finished with 34 points, eight assists and five rebounds for the Heat.

Spurs 94, Mavericks 90

In San Antonio, playing with a bandage across his broken nose after getting popped by Dirk Nowitzki's elbow, Manu Ginobili helped the Spurs hold on in a wild fourth quarter.

Ginobili scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. He was diagnosed after the game with a nasal fracture. The team said Ginobili would undergo a CT scan on Saturday.

San Antonio took a 2-1 lead by surviving the NBA's best road team, and Nowitzki torching the Spurs for 35 points.

Tim Duncan scored 25 points for San Antonio.

Jazz 105, Nuggets 93

In Salt Lake City, Paul Millsap had career-highs of 22 points and 19 rebounds, rallying Utah from a disastrous start.

The Jazz lead the series 2-1.

Utah limited the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony to 25 points.

* * * * *

Visit The Japan Times' Web site for a recap of Saturday's bj-league games.



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