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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Garnett comes up big as Celtics cut Heat lead to 2-1


BOSTON — Kevin Garnett went hard to the court when he was fouled underneath the basket. He remained on his back, motionless, as his teammates rushed over to check on him and offer a hand to help him up.

News photo
High above: Boston's Kevin Garnett puts up a one-hander in the lane against Miami in Game 3 on Friday night. The Celtics beat the Heat 101-91. AP

The Boston Celtics center ignored them, instead gingerly rolling over onto his stomach before extending his arms to ease himself up off the court. Down and up he went, pushing off the floor on his knuckles eight times for some postseason pushups.

For the first time in the Eastern Conference finals, Boston was having fun with the Miami Heat.

"K.G. plays a lot of mental games with himself — and with others," Celtics guard Keyon Dooling said Friday night after Boston beat the Heat 101-91 to cut Miami's lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. "K.G. is a very focused individual and he loves these kind of moments."

Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce scored 23 points and Rajon Rondo had 21 points with 10 assists to help the Celtics avoid falling into a 3-0 hole in the series.

Game 4 is set for Sunday night in Boston.

"They defended their home court," Rondo said. "In a couple of days, we'll do the same."

LeBron James scored 34 points, but the NBA MVP and the rest of the Heat went cold during a 7-minute stretch at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, when Boston outscored them 15-0 to turn a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead.

The Celtics extended it to 24 points early in the fourth quarter before Miami came back and cut it to 95-87 with help from three 3-pointers by Mike Miller. But James had a turnover and missed a 3-pointer in the last 2 minutes to squelch the Heat's hope of a comeback.

"You're trying to fight back the whole time," said James, who scored 16 points in the first quarter but just four with one rebound and one assist in the fourth. "We made a run but it was too much."

Miami still trailed by eight points with the ball when Dwyane Wade missed and Ray Allen grabbed the rebound, sending Rondo on a fast break that made it 99-89 with 99 seconds to play. James threw the ball away underneath, then missed a 3-point attempt the next time down — one of only four shots he took in the fourth quarter.

Pierce found Garnett for a long jumper at the other end, and the teams began emptying their benches.

Coming off his 44-point effort in the Game 2 loss in Miami, in which he played every second of regulation and overtime, Rondo was 9-for-16 from the field and grabbed six rebounds.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he had little to tell Rondo on the day off.

"I'm like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter: you stay away from that joker," Rivers said. "The guy scored 44 points, what can I possibly tell him?"

Marquis Daniels led the Boston bench with nine points and five rebounds in 18 minutes.

Wade scored 18 points and Mario Chalmers had 14 points and six assists for Miami.

Twyman passes away


CINCINNATI — Basketball Hall of Famer Jack Twyman, one of the NBA's top scorers in the 1950s who became the guardian to a paralyzed teammate, has died. He was 78.

Twyman died Wednesday at a Cincinnati hospice of complications from an aggressive form of blood cancer, his son, Jay Twyman said Thursday.

"He died peacefully with family members at his side," said Twyman, of Rye, N.Y.

Jack Twyman played for the University of Cincinnati and spent 11 seasons in the NBA with the Rochester and Cincinnati Royals.

He averaged a career-high 31.2 points per game in the 1959-60 season, playing in six All-Star Games.

In 1958, after teammate Maurice Stokes was left paralyzed after a head injury suffered during a game, Twyman became his guardian to help Stokes receive medical benefits.

Twyman later worked as a television analyst on NBA games. His most famous work as an announcer came in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers, when he stopped himself mid-sentence during the pre-game to announce that he saw injured New York center Willis Reed coming through the player tunnel. It had not been known whether Reed would be able to play because of an injured thigh muscle, but he went on to lead New York to a 113-99 victory.

Twyman scored 15,840 points in his career and was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983.

At the University of Cincinnati, Twyman led the Bearcats in scoring his sophomore through senior seasons (1952-55), finishing his career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,598 points and 1,242 rebounds. Twyman, who was named an All-American in 1955 after averaging 24.6 points and 16.5 rebounds, is one of three Bearcats to have their jerseys retired.

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