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Friday, June 1, 2012

Heat overcome Celtics despite Rondo heroics

AP

MIAMI — The biggest postseason comeback in Miami Heat franchise history wasn't enough.

News photo
Close quarters: Boston's Kevin Garnett (left) and Miami's Udonis Haslem compete during the Heat's 115-111 win on Wednesday. AP

The Heat needed more — and got it, digging deep to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

LeBron James scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 23 and the Heat rallied from 15 down to beat the Boston Celtics 115-111 in overtime on Wednesday night.

Mario Chalmers scored 22 for the Heat, who won despite an unbelievable night by Rajon Rondo. The Celtics guard played all 53 minutes and scored 44 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds. The Heat expected Boston's best — and the Celtics didn't disappoint.

"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 the energy to get back into the game and we had to play better."

Paul Pierce scored 21 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and Ray Allen 13 for Boston.

Rondo finished 16 of 24 from the floor, 10 of 12 from the foul line and made both his 3-point tries.

"He was absolutely phenomenal," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Put us, put the whole team at times on his shoulders. . . . We had a lot of opportunities to win the game."

Allen's 3-pointer with 34.3 seconds left tied the game at 99-99. James missed two shots, first a layup — he got the rebound of his own miss — and then a jumper on the final possession of regulation, and to overtime they went.

"We had to do it the tough way," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Game 3 is Friday in Boston.

The Heat had come back to win from 14 points down in playoff games twice before, first in Game 6 of the 2006 NBA Finals — their title clincher — and again last season against Philadelphia.

And this one was slipping away, more than once. James missed two free throws 21 seconds into overtime, and Miami looked in trouble. But the Heat held on, in a game where they took 47 free throws — 24 by James — to Boston's 29.

The scoring dossier in overtime began like this: Rondo scored, Heat tied it, Rondo scored, Heat tied it, Rondo scored, Heat tied it.

When Rondo missed a layup — he thought he was fouled, and the Celtics agreed — with 1:33 left, Miami took advantage, with Udonis Haslem getting a dunk to put the Heat up 105-103. And after a turnover on the next Boston possession, Wade drove the lane, hit the deck and watched as his layup bounced on the rim and dropped through.

Garnett stood over Wade and glared, to no avail. Wade hit the free throw, and Miami was up 110-105 with 59.7 seconds left.

On a night where the Heat missed 16 free throws — including at least four by James in crucial situations — they would survive.

"Now we're going home," Boston's Mickael Pietrus said. "Our jersey is going to be white. They got two. Fine, good for them. But we're going home now and you know what that means."

Hornets win draft lottery

AP

NEW YORK — New owner, and now a new star player. The future suddenly looks bright for the New Orleans Hornets.

Meanwhile, it was yet another loss — in a historic season full of them — for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Hornets, recently sold by the NBA to Saints owner Tom Benson, won the NBA's draft lottery Wednesday and the No. 1 pick overall — which they almost certainly will use to pick Kentucky star Anthony Davis.

At least that's what the consensus college player of the year is expecting. Moments after the Hornets won the lottery, Davis said he was looking forward to playing professionally in the place where he led the Wildcats to a national championship in April.

The good news for the Hornets comes after a difficult season in which they traded All-Star Chris Paul and a couple of years in limbo where they couldn't do much to upgrade the roster while the league was looking for a buyer.



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