AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) _ Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds and
Rajon Rondo scored 21 points with 10 assists to lead the Boston
Celtics to a 101-91 victory over the Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern
Conference finals on Friday night, cutting Miami’s lead in the
series to 2-1.

Game 4 is Sunday night in Boston.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points for Boston.

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

James scored 16 points in the first quarter but had just four
points with one rebound and one assist in the fourth, when Miami
cut a 24-point deficit to eight. Mike Miller hit consecutive
3-pointers during an 11-0 run that cut the deficit to 95-87.

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 a 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

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

Wade scored 18 points and Mario Chalmers had 14 points and six
assists for Miami. Shane Battier was scoreless, missing all six
shots, and Ronny Turiaf had three points while tangling with
Garnett under the basket for much of the game.

The Celtics center, who has appeared rejuvenated during these
playoffs at the age of 36, got called for another technical foul
for a violent elbow but otherwise seemed to be enjoying himself.
While waiting to inbound the ball in the second quarter, he
high-fived a young child sitting courtside in a No. 5 Celtics

At the other end, after falling to the court after his shot, he
did a series of pushups to the crowd’s amusement.

Wade was 9 for 20 from the field and did not shoot a free throw
in the game. James, who shot 24 free throws in Game 2, making 18,
was 1 for 5 from the line.

James hit seven of his first nine shots, before making one of
the next six. That helped Boston score the last eight points of the
first quarter and the first seven of the second to turn six-point
deficit into a nine-point lead. Much of it came with Keyon Dooling
and Daniels on the court for Boston.

Notes: During the first timeout, the Celtics acknowledged Boston
Globe columnist Bob Ryan, who is retiring this summer. GM Danny
Ainge was one of the first to stand and applaud. … K.C. Jones,
who was celebrating his 80th birthday, and fellow Celtic great John
Havlicek were in the crowd.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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