Garnett, Pierce lead Celtics past Heat, take series lead
Kevin Garnett scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce added 19 points and the Boston Celtics moved one win away from advancing again to NBA Finals, beating the Miami Heat 94-90 on Tuesday night, taking a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference Finals series.
LeBron James finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds while Dwyane Wade scored 27 points 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.
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, and got 10 points from Brandon Bass.
Garnett's jumper with 2:54 left put the Celtics back on top, and Mario Chalmers was assessed a technical foul after the play when referee Derrick Stafford whistled him for pushing Pietrus. Allen made the free throw for an 82-80 lead -- but Chalmers, hit a 3-pointer on the next Miami possession for one lead change, followed immediately by another when Pietrus made a 3 at the other end.
Wade tied it at 85-all with an acrobatic layup with 1:39 to play, but Miami never led again.
Chris Bosh who finished with nine points, came off the bench for his first minutes since straining a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1 of Miami's second-round series against Indiana. His three-point play with 1:17 left in the opening quarter -- punctuated with a stare-down for some cheering fans -- capped a 24-13 Miami run to open the game. James made a 3-pointer with 9:39 left in the half, and the Heat went up 31-18.
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.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)