Boston puts the heat on Miami
MIAMI Paul Pierce watched the shot sail just over LeBron James’ outstretched arm. And when it swished, he turned toward the Boston bench, shaking his head.
The biggest shot of the night, for certain.
And it put the Miami Heat in big trouble in these Eastern Conference finals.
Kevin Garnett finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, Pierce scored 19 and the Celtics moved one win away from the East title by beating the Heat 94-90 on Tuesday night, taking a 3-2 lead in the series.
James finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds for Miami, though he went 8 minutes without scoring in the final quarter. Dwyane Wade scored 27 for the Heat, who got no more than nine from anyone else.
Pierce’s 3-pointer with 53 seconds left put Boston up 90-86. Miami got within two points twice, and argued that it should have had a steal with 8.8 seconds left. Instead, a foul was called on Udonis Haslem, Garnett made two free throws, and the Celtics knew they had just stolen one on Miami’s home floor.
Game 6 is Thursday night in Boston, where the Celtics will try to clinch a trip to either Oklahoma City or San Antonio for Game 1 of the NBA finals. The title series starts June 12.
The Celtics were down by 13 points in the second quarter, then down nine in the third, and answered both times—prevailing on a night where they shot just 41 percent, and got outrebounded 49-39.
Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus scored 13 apiece for the Celtics, who got 10 from Brandon Bass.
James hit a 3-pointer to give Miami a two-point lead with 8:10 left, closed out on Pierce to force an airball on the next possession, and eventually Miami pushed the margin out to 78-72 on a layup by Wade with 6:17 to play. On that play, James looked gassed, gasping for air as he stood near the baseline.
Those might have been the last gasps the Miami home crowd sees this season.
Boston closed on a 22-12 run.