L/rain
39°
L/rain
Hi 43° | Lo 32°
Boston Celtics

Rondo’s two late baskets lift Celts over Heat, 101-96

  • Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) cannot control a rebound against Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) cannot control a rebound against Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley (8) leaps behind the basket to make a play as Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) and forward Jeff Green (8) defend during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Watching are Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) and Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40).(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley (8) leaps behind the basket to make a play as Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) and forward Jeff Green (8) defend during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Watching are Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) and Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40).(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) dunks as Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass (30), guard Rajon Rondo (9), center Kris Humphries (43) and forward Jeff Green (8) watch in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) dunks as Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass (30), guard Rajon Rondo (9), center Kris Humphries (43) and forward Jeff Green (8) watch in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) as Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) and Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) watch in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) as Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) and Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) watch in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green (8) lock arms as they fight for position during a free throw in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green (8) lock arms as they fight for position during a free throw in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) cannot control a rebound against Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) cannot control a rebound against Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) stretches to make a layup against Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger (7) and center Kelly Olynyk (41) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) stretches to make a layup against Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger (7) and center Kelly Olynyk (41) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) cannot control a rebound against Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley (8) leaps behind the basket to make a play as Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) and forward Jeff Green (8) defend during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Watching are Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) and Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40).(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) dunks as Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass (30), guard Rajon Rondo (9), center Kris Humphries (43) and forward Jeff Green (8) watch in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) as Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) and Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) watch in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green (8) lock arms as they fight for position during a free throw in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) cannot control a rebound against Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) and guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) stretches to make a layup against Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger (7) and center Kelly Olynyk (41) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON – The word came shortly before tipoff: LeBron James wouldn’t be playing.

Good news for Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens. But not as good as the news his team delivered down the stretch.

Jeff Green’s 3-pointer broke a 94-94 tie with 2:32 left and Rajon Rondo hit two running baseline shots in the last two minutes as the Celtics broke a five-game losing streak with a 101-96 win over the Miami Heat last night.

Stevens had prepared to face James, who scored 43 points in a 100-96 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers the previous night. But when he learned that James would sit out with back spasms, “you just move on to what’s next,” he said.

What came next for the Celtics was a poor first quarter in which they made 9 of 27 shots, a better second quarter and a second half in which they outscored the Heat 48-37.

“We were down 12” after the first quarter, Stevens said. “And then we hit 60 percent of our shots the rest of the way and that’s why we won.”

That and the Heat’s second-half shooting problems. They sank 40 percent of their attempts in that half after hitting 56.5 percent. In the second half, Chris Bosh made 1 of 6 shots and Dwyane Wade hit 2 of 9.

“I was just off,” Wade said as James sat in the opposite corner of the locker room dressed in jeans, a gray T-shirt and dark green ski cap while eating pasta.

“I had opportunities,” Wade said with a smile. “I just couldn’t go my normal 60 percent shooting self.”

Rondo made his shots when the Celtics needed them, continuing to regain his skills since returning Jan. 17, almost a year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

“That’s the most frustrating part of my game that hasn’t come back,” he said of sinking floaters near the basket. “I expected it to be there. I made two tonight and have to continue to work on it.”

He finished with nine points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points and career highs of six 3-pointers and nine 3-point attempts. Brandon Bass added 18 points.

“I just have that confidence in my shot,” Bradley said. “We didn’t only execute at the end of this game but we played great defense.”

The Heat, who had won their previous two games after losing five of six, were led by Wade with 17 points, Chris Andersen with 16, and Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem with 14 each.

“We aren’t used to playing so unstable,” Bosh said. “We need to pick it up.”

Miami remained in second place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind Indiana, which lost to the New York Knicks.

The Heat would have had a much better chance to gain on the Pacers had James played. But Coach Eric Spoelstra kept him out against one of the NBA’s worst teams because of the back problem.

“It was sore in the walkthrough today, but he was able to go through it so I didn’t really think much of it,” Spoelstra said. “Then it didn’t get much better by game time so it was a pretty easy decision.”

Rondo said James’s absence didn’t affect the Celtics’ defense.

“Our pick-and-roll defense is usually the same,” he said.

Rondo had missed four of his six shots before banking the ball in from the right with 1:44 to go, putting Boston ahead 99-94. Wade then converted an offensive rebound with 1:32 left.

Each team missed a shot before Rondo connected again with 18.7 seconds to play.

It capped an impressive comeback after one of the NBA’s best teams had built a 14-point lead early in the second quarter and led 59-53 at halftime.

Bradley started the scoring with a 21-foot jumper, giving the Celtics their only lead of the first half. A dunk by Haslem tied the game 2-2 and the Heat led 34-22 after the first quarter.

NOTES

∎  Heat center Greg Oden got the night off to rest after starting the last two games and playing in nine of the last 12.

∎  Both teams had good shooting nights with Boston hitting 50.6 percent of its shots and Miami connecting on 49.4 percent.

∎  Chris Bosh finished with just six points, but had 11 rebounds.

∎  Andersen’s 16 points were two fewer than his high for his 11 seasons.

Knicks 92, Pacers 86

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and New York opened the Phil Jackson era by beating Indiana for its season-high seventh straight victory.

With their new team president watching from a midcourt seat, the Knicks dominated the first half, then pulled away after the Eastern Conference leaders finally got untracked in the second half.

Fans stood to cheer Jackson in the first quarter and were on their feet again in the final minute to watch the Knicks beat the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.

Bulls 102, 76ers 94

D.J Augustin scored 20 points and Taj Gibson had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Chicago over Philadelphia, handing the 76ers their 22nd straight loss.

The Sixers are four losses shy of matching the NBA record for longest-single season losing streak.

The Cleveland Cavaliers set the record of 26 consecutive losses in the 2010-11 season.

Timberwolves 123, Mavericks 122, OT

Kevin Love scored 35 points, including the go-ahead basket in overtime, Ricky Rubio had a triple-double and Minnesota blew several leads before hanging on.

The Timberwolves broke a six-game stretch of alternating wins and losses with their second straight victory to move two games over .500 for the first time since Nov. 23.

Raptors 107, Pelicans 100

DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points and Greivis Vasquez victimized his former team with six points in the last two minutes for Toronto.

Kyle Lowry scored 23, Amir Johnson added 17 and Vasquez finished with 14 to help Toronto overcome a 14-point first-half deficit and snap a two-game skid.

Nets 104, Bobcats 99

Deron Williams scored 23 points, Joe Johnson added 20 and Brooklyn overcame a late deficit to win its 10th straight at home.

Williams scored 11 of his points in the final six minutes.

Grizzlies 96, Jazz 86

Zach Randolph scored 21 points, Marc Gasol added 20 and Memphis maintained its hold on a Western Conference playoff spot with the victory over Utah.

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.